If you’re just tuning in, these tips are part of a week-long series on “The Secrets to Long Haul Creativity” that we launched earlier this week on Monday.
Five: Sir Ken Robinson Weights In On Frustration
I just returned from presenting at the World Business Forum in Milan, where I spent some time with creativity expert and all-around great guy Sir Ken Robinson. Sir Ken pointed out that long haul creativity requires a low-level, near-constant sense of frustration — which is different from the just-discussed moment-of-madness version of frustration.
Moment-of-madness frustration makes you punch the ground. Ken’s version is about motivation. It’s a constant, itchy dissatisfaction, a deep sense of what-if, and can-we-make-it-better, and the like.
To illustrate this, he told me a story about George Lucas. Robinson, apparently, popped the question: “Hey George,” he said, “why do you keep remaking all those Star Wars movies?” Lucas had a great answer: “In this particular universe, I’m God. And God isn’t satisfied.”
Six: Everybody’s Got A Job To Do
There’s this mistaken assumption that creativity is a solitary pursuit. This may be true, but the business of creativity is always collaborative. Every journalist has to brave a gauntlet of editors, copy-editors, managing editors ad infinitum. Movies and books and plays and poems are more of the same. Startup entrepreneurs always have investors — etc.
And this brings me to an important point: everybody’s got a job to do. And everybody wants to keep that job. In writing, this means that even if I turn in something perfect, my editors are still being paid to edit — so they will. This is why, I discovered, every time I turned in a piece of finished work I intentionally include a few horrible lines. It gives my editors something to do. It lets them feel useful. It keeps their grubby little hands away from my damn perfect sentences.
Tune in tomorrow for the final secrets to fighting the good fight for long-haul creativity!
This article was originally published by Medium.
Featured image by Livia Cives.