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The Lorem Ipsum Newsletter

#24: Are you still waiting for inspiration?

Vahur Singa
  Reading time 3 minutes

Hi friend!

In today’s Lorem Ipsum, I will teach you how to achieve more success in your creative work based on the book “Creativity, inc” by Ed Catmull, founder and CEO of Pixar.

Understanding the forces behind creativity and inspiration is vital to sustaining a career in a creative field. This will help you navigate the setbacks that every creator comes across.

Unfortunately, most people think that being able to produce their best work is outside of their control, which leads many to quit altogether.

Creativity is riddled with myths.

  • People think creativity works differently for everybody, and no guidelines can help them.
  • They have unrealistic expectations for how great creative projects come to be.
  • They give up after failure, conflict, and loss of direction, which are actually necessary.
  • They don’t make simple yet uncommon steps to decrease the weight of their fear.

However, these principles and examples I’m about to give you will set you up to produce better creative work while dealing with fewer negatives.

Here’s how, step by step:

Step 1: It’s not you vs the world

People think great art results from a lone creator locking himself in a room and emerging six months later with a genius piece. If you follow this, you put yourself at a huge disadvantage.

The more time you work on an idea by yourself, the worse you will feel if it doesn’t succeed. This overthinking leads to many pieces being unfinished.

The solution is a candid feedback group. The feedback should be coherent but light-hearted and aimed at the ideas, not the person.

In Pixar, such a feedback group was called Braintrust, consisting of the most experienced writers and directors.

Include those people in your problems, not just your solution. Different interpretations of viewpoints on the same idea can make a good idea great.

“To advance creatively, we must let go of something.” It means letting go of your naturally limited understandings, beliefs, confidence, or the wish to be the sole mastermind behind a project.

People don’t want to include others because it can cause conflict. But, they fail to realize that conflict is essential because that’s how the best ideas will be tested and survive.

Lastly, don’t wait for things to be perfect before you share them with others. Show early and show often. Group members must trust each other and not be afraid of embarrassment.

Ed Catmull encourages every creator to form their own Braintrust and take good care of it, as it was the foundation of Pixar’s success.

Step 2: Don’t expect it to be pretty

People think art comes fully formed in the creator’s mind at a spark of inspiration. If it doesn’t, it’s not worth pursuing.

In truth, any idea that ends up being great starts as something far from it. For greatness to emerge, there must be phases of not-so-greatness.

Creative people discover and realize their visions over time and through dedicated, protracted struggle.

So if you have an idea but get stuck in the middle of it, it doesn’t mean it should be abandoned. It just needs more work. Many of Pixar’s greatest films were almost cut from production because the story was stuck and required several re-dos.

As humans, we like to know where we are headed, but creativity demands that we travel paths that lead to who-knows-where. It doesn’t mean keeping things simple, efficient, or tidy.

Bringing a creative project to life is like going through a tunnel: In the middle, there comes the point where you see no light from where you came from and no light at the other end, so all you can do is keep going.

Step 3: Work is never done

Once you finish your first big project and succeed with it, you must still be cautious going forward.

It’s because success makes you want to repeat what you did in the past.

But conclusions we draw from our successes and failures are typically wrong. Some of your decisions only worked under those circumstances. Some luck and random events also influenced the result.

Acknowledging our good fortune lets us make more realistic assessments and decisions.

Be ready to adapt your processes next time you undertake a project.

However, some people view changing course as a sign of weakness, as admitting that you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s not true!

Moreover, people reflect on their past and want to clean up some unpleasant parts of what happened. To be more efficient with their time, resources, and mental toll.

But don’t confuse being efficient with avoiding the unpleasant but important phases of work. They are likely to happen again, just in different forms.

I kindly encourage you to read the book and not overlook protecting your creativity as the building block of a fruitful career.

That’s all for today.

See you next week.

 

Whenever you’re ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

  1. For Estonians: If you are an entrepreneur, freelancer or marketer and tired of poor results from social media, consider joining my Content Marketing Masterclass.
  2. If you’d like me to coach or consult you in private, I offer a 1-on-1 coaching program and a 1-hour consultation call. Learn more about my services here.
Sven Nuum
Sven Nuum
I don't know anybody who has deep-dived into content marketing and social media like Vahur. The way he writes using copywriting persuasion principles and communicates with his audience is outstanding.
Mihkel Vetemaa
Mihkel Vetemaa
Only some people understand the social media game and how to tap into human psychology to stop the scroll. Vahur is really passionate about content writing and systemizing it. It's surprising how his content always gets attention.
Mardo Männimägi
Mardo Männimägi
He is a charming person who knows how to listen. Vahur has given me great advice on growing my businesses and podcast. To grow on social media through content, you need to think strategically, which he knows how to do.