Three More Rules for Creative Work

A while ago I found a very inspiring article with 33 rules for artists that actually is good not only for artists. If your work is related to creativity (even barely), you may find a lot of useful stuff here.

The top 3 for me:

  • Tell your own story
  • Start with a pencil (true not only for artists, try to think about anything with a piece of paper and a pencil –– just start writing down completely changes the way how you think)
  • Learn to deal with rejection

After I shared this article on Twitter with a note that it can be useful for other professions as well, the author asked which 3 rules I can add to this list. So here are my 3 rules to take you from an amateur to someone with more creativity in life:

  • Be disciplined
  • Seek for imperfection in your work
  • Don't be ashamed of your previous projects

Be disciplined

It is common to think that creative work forgives laziness and inconsistency. Rule number 5 in the article says "Work, Work, Work".
I would add "Be disciplined in planning and doing your work".

It is easy to postpone something if it requires inspiration. "I don't have enough inspiration" sounds like a reasonable excuse but it is not –– it is a big trap.

  • Invest in building habits that will help you beat procrastination (same time every day, time boundaries).
  • Create your own routines and triggers to get in the right mood (Pomodoro technique, music).

Seek for imperfection in your work

It is a wonderful feeling when you have an idea which is perfect. It's brilliant when you implemented it and proud how you have it done.

But it should alarm you if you return to this project in some time and there is nothing to improve.

Seeing imperfection in your work is a sign of growth. Look for more of it and always challenge your projects to take more from your past experience.

Don't be ashamed of your previous projects

This rule is closely related to the previous one. If you see too many issues in your projects, you may become ashamed of it, try to hide it or even destroy.

Don't do it. What is easy for you now isn't necessary easy for others. Be thankful to the results of your work –– it is something that helped you become who you are.

If you're a programmer, remember the first program you wrote. If you're a writer, remember your first essay or an article. And the second, and the tenth. I bet if you find it, you'll try to hide it as deep as possible and not show to anyone.
But I suppose you were proud when you finished it, weren't you? Why shouldn't you be proud now?
There are a lot of people who can't write it even like this. And, most importantly, this helped you to build experience: the impact of this essay on your life was way much bigger than you can imagine.