Let’s face it, we all love our shortcuts and gadgets.
Whether it’s about making our waistlines smaller, our creative work better, or our brains bigger — we are all searching for that next life hack that will make our lives easier.
The problem, however, isn’t about our love affair with technology. The real issue is when these tools (or lack of them) keep us from doing the work that’s necessary.
It’s like the Ab Rocker, which is the latest in a long line of overpriced exercise gadget designed to flatten our stomach.
The purpose of this padded
recliner machine is to make doing sit-ups easier, which is exactly the problem.
Doing sit-ups is not about easy. It’s about strengthening your ab muscles and the way you do that is by forcing your ab muscles to work harder.
Sure it’s nice to have a comfortably padded neck and back support along with convenient handles to help pull yourself up with, but that’s not really the point.
The point is not to be easy, it’s about getting stronger abs. In other words, it’s about putting in the work.
After all if you want to do a sit-up, you just need to — sit up. You don’t need something to make it easier.
We are constantly playing the “If only I had…” game.
If only I had a better guitar/amp/microphone to help me create my music
If only I could take a creative writing class and have people criticize the crap out of my writing.
If only I had a bigger canvas, a new set of brushes, or better quality paint
If only I had my own private studio or writing space
If only I could afford a better camera or that really cool new lens
The fact that we don’t have all of these tools we think we need, becomes our excuse for not doing the work. I know because I fall into this technology trap all the time.
This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.
Every week there is some new revolutionary website plugin, theme, or software program that promises to make things easier and get Google to love you. Just as there are dozens of writing apps that promise to eliminate distractions and allow you write better, faster, and easier than ever before.
The only problem is that in the end, writing is about writing and creating is about creating — the more you do it, the better you get at it.
You can write just as well with a pencil and a cheap spiral-bound notebook as you can with a MacBook Pro. In other words, it’s not about having the right tools or gadgets, it’s simply about doing the work.
This is true whether you are trying to write a novel, play an instrument, paint a picture, or capture the perfect photograph.
When we first start creating our art, we have all of this excitement and passion for our work.
In the beginning we can’t wait start painting, writing, or taking pictures of everything we see. This is our creative honeymoon period where everything is awesome and each day is a brand new adventure.
Then one day it becomes work.
A deadline comes up, a commission falls through, or a rejection letter shows up in the mail. Suddenly it’s not as much fun anymore — so we decide to go shopping, hoping to recapture the joy of creating.
The answer is not to find (or purchase) a better solution, but to stop looking for one.
Getting bored, getting discouraged, and feeling like you’ll never be good enough is simply part of the game. Unfortunately there is no easy fix and there is nothing you can buy that will make these problems go away. In order to be a successful creative artist, you just have to find a way to work through it and do what you can with the tools you already have.
But don’t wait. Act now. Your time is limited.
Writer, teacher, and head custodian of the Skinny Artist community. His book "Getting Creative: Developing Creative Habits that Work" is all about finding the time (and energy) to live a more creative life.