The Power of Forced Creativity

Clock in a clock

You can’t just work harder to create art…it has to come.

I (like many others) used to feel this way. And when you sit down in front of a blank notebook and have to come up with something it can certainly feel that way. How does one make ideas happen?

For several years, I ran/produced/wrote a monthly family theatre program called Studio Y? And every month we needed a new script, so every month my wife and I would sit down to write. Sometimes the ideas just flowed, other times…it was hard hard work, with more backspacing than typing. But there was the pressure, we had to come up with something, the actors were waiting for their script, and by read-through day, it had to be in their hands.

And with this pressure, we wrote 7 seasons worth of scripts.

Currently Luke Dowler is in the middle of a songwriting challenge called #8in8. The challenge is pretty simple, every week (for 8 weeks) he writes a new song. Writes it Monday, tracks it Tuesday and posts on Wednesday. It’s an intense process, but, so far (2 weeks completed) the results have been GREAT songs.

The key is a deadline.

As much as most creative people love to feel wide open and free, deadlines force things out of us. Without a deadline, it’s too easy to let that book idea sit in a drawer somewhere, to never finish editing that video, to fuss until the painting is “perfect”.

So take a challenge:

1. Choose a creative project.
2. Set a deadline.
3. Tell other people (you need the accountability)
4. Accomplish it.

You can always adjust it later, but first…get something done.

Hear is the song from week 2 of Luke Dowler’s #8in8 project, I’d love to hear about your creative projects in the comments: