What's the time management secret that's sure to help us all get TONS more writing done? "Yes makes less." It's my new favorite motto.
If you've never heard of Steven Pressfield or Shawn Coyne, you're missing out on some amazing lessons. Pressfield wrote The War of Art (edited by Coyne) and they often blog about creativity.
The part that resonated with me the most:
Time is the raw material of creation.
Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating.
Creating consumes. It is all day, every day. It knows neither weekends nor vacations. It is not when we feel like it. It is habit, compulsion, obsession, vocation.
The common thread that links creators is how they spend their time. No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes.
Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.
We are not taught to say “no.” We are taught not to say “no.” “No” is rude. “No” is a rebuff, a rebuttal, a minor act of verbal violence. “No” is for drugs and strangers with candy.
Creators do not ask how much time something takes but how much creation it costs. This interview, this letter, this trip to the movies, this dinner with friends, this party, this last day of summer. How much less will I create unless I say “no?” A sketch? A stanza? A paragraph? An experiment? Twenty lines of code?
The answer is always the same: “yes” makes less.
We do not have enough time as it is. There are groceries to buy, gas tanks to fill, families to love and day jobs to do.
Amen to that! I've put my "new favorite motto" on a big pink index card next to my computer, and taped another one to my bathroom mirror. (I'd love to hear where you put up your motivational quotes.)
Are you a "YES" person, a "NO" person, or somewhere in between? What helps you guard your creative time? Do you have any time management secrets to share??
Bonus: Laura Drake wrote a doozy of a post called Can’t We All Just Get Along? over at More Cowbell about some of the wild behavior happening online lately. I guarantee you, it’s worth your time. 🙂
By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.
When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm. Jenny also writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.