Content creation is the output of any creative endeavor.
Today, I’m going to discuss how to maximize your abilities as a creator and be able to push stuff out reliably, even in difficult circumstances.
Anyone can succeed once or twice, when given the suitable extrinsic motivation. What a creator who hopes to become a professional needs to do is nail down their work process.
This is a way to prevent creative block and ensure maximum productivity over a long run.
The first step to content creation is to come up with and follow a schedule. I’ve already talked about my daily schedule in the past, but a single schedule is probably insufficient.
For me, I find it helpful to have overlapping schedules at different scales.
For instance, I maintain a daily schedule, which governs my writing time each day and keeps me in the habit of writing.
Then I keep a weekly schedule, in this case three blog posts.
I have a schedule for whatever project I’m currently working on, which dictates when certain milestones need to get done.
And I wrap it all up in a yearly schedule, where I have a goal of writing and publishing at least one book each year.
The purposes of schedules are to produce the desired habits, guide action, and then serve as a metric for results.
The Power of Habit
One of the easiest ways to become a productive self-starter is to make a habit of it.
Every time you repeat a process, you further entrench the practice in your brain. A simple way around the creative block is to never let yourself lose momentum; sticking to a schedule with multiple options for action gives opportunities to build good habits.A simple way around the creative block is to never let yourself lose momentum; sticking to a schedule with multiple options for action gives opportunities to build good habits. Click To Tweet
Habit is the difference between success or failure because it can program your brain. If your brain expects to be letting creative juices flow, it will do so. Doing things that shut that process down will impair the functionality.
You can still take a break or rest, within limit. But the habit needs to be maintained.
This is a great way to prevent a block. When you engage in a creative endeavor every day, you set yourself up to continue doing so.
Using Directed Action
Schedules provide a pathway for forward motion.
Do not underestimate the power of a plan. While individual projects may not go according to their plan, this isn’t a problem with the act of planning.
This is also not to say that a plan has to guide action in every moment. Over-planning is procrastination.
If you plan to write a book every year, it is unnecessary to know what that book is on January 1. It is merely necessary to be planning around the endeavor.
As a writer, I read in a field I have an interest in writing in. That gives ideas that I can bring to the table later, and in the worst-case scenario it gives me personal satisfaction. An artist may study a form they’re thinking of using, or a carpenter may pour over designs they might build upon.
When the process proceeds predictably, there is a place for action. Even if the individual events cannot be foreseen, having a plan is helpful.
I didn’t have an outline for my NaNoWriMo novel, Babylon Recursion, before I started it. But I knew that I was going to write the first draft by November 30th, come hell or high water. Each day, I made a few decisions centered on increasing my word count, and by the end of November I had most of a novel written and ready for revision.
Measure Your Results
At the end of everything, you want to assess your results.
One advantage of a schedule is that it lets you have very simple metrics based on that schedule. Each time you hit a point in the schedule, have a deliverable. I know if I post three blog posts a week, for instance. You don’t need very rigid guidelines.
For a while I was doing daily practice sprints to build my writing skills. These were a very simple “check the box and you’re done” affair.
I still looked to see how well I was doing on them. When I saw growth in my word output, and I liked the quality of what I was writing, I knew I was being productive.
But as a creator many of the metrics we have are going to be moot. I’ve written blogs for years now. Typically, each post receives a certain amount of reads. Then you have a few that really go big. The same seems to apply to every form of content creation.
But making posts and doing so over and over is the foundation. You don’t see that success until long after it’s been in progress.
A quick word of encouragement is in order. Just because your work doesn’t receive the reaction you want doesn’t mean that you have failed. Productive acts often open up doors far in the future. My work on Degenesis: Artifacts for SIXMOREVODKA started from some homebrew I’d made for fun years earlier.
The creative act can be its own reward, and it’s easy to overlook the steps it takes to go from an amateur to a professional.
Flights of fancy need not limit the creative endeavor. Using schedules to guide the process can give tools to build habits, provide clear paths to action, and let the creator analyze results.
Content creation is dependent upon dedication, and the skills and results required flow from repeated effort over time.