This is Hubris: 7 February 2021 edition, the newsletter where I have the audacity to think I’ve written something worth reading.
I don’t feel as if I’ve gotten any work done this past week. Katie’s show ended on Friday, so I helped her tear that down. She’s been having issues with her website, so I put in a decent amount of time until we figure that out. My own business site continues to be overhauled, and I’m finally happy with the design. Because it was the first week of the month, I had accounting and immigration stuff to deal with.
All of which is necessary stuff, but I really just want to write. I long to lock myself in a room somewhere and not come out until this current manuscript is finished. What I’d give for an assistant that just came in periodically with hot coffee and fresh sandswiches.
Last Sunday, I broke the apartment down into manageable zones. Each individual cabinet in the kitchen is its own zone, because they are deep and have several shelves. My nightstand is a zone. For many people a bedroom closet might constitute multiple zones — shelves, floor, hanging bar — but mine is a built-in Ikea fixture the size of an American hot water heater, and doesn’t hold much.
On my monthly task list for February I listed each zone, grouped by room. I’m setting aside an hour each day to declutter one zone. Anything I haven’t worn, rarely use, and don’t foresee needing is going into an appropriate pile. Give away. Sell, Recycle. Trash. When a zone is completed, I get the satisfaction of checking it off. Every time I leave the house, I will take something out and transport it to the proper destination.
My goal is to be down to bare essentials again by the end of the month.
Building Up My Creative Infrastructure
Some people would argue that I’m not all that creative. I wouldn’t argue against them. In all honestly, I approach creative work like a project manager. I need to know what I’m trying to accomplish, how I’m going to do it, and the resources that I’ll need. It’s not some magical thing, where I await my muse and then go wherever my impulses take me. The things I make are created with planning and intention.
A famous creator in my niche once got annoyed that I refer to my books as products. It bothered me until I learned that I make more money at this than he does. He’s far wealthier than I am, but he makes a living doing other things. The illusion is that he’s gotten rich doing this. I need to pay the rent doing creative work, so I’ve always had to put profitability ahead of my artistic whims.
Anyway, I spent most of January working out some kinks in my production process. I built new templates, wrote a style guide for my own reference, and documented standard operating procedures (SOP). These will allow me to work faster and more consistently. They will improve the quality of my work. It ought to help increase sales.
The better my creative infrastructure, the more I can focus on creativity. When I don’t have to worry about making rent, I can relax and enjoy myself. The work gets better. I know that a lot of creatives don’t get it. They don’t have to. I’m happy with what I’m doing, and the ay I’m doing it.
Less Blogging, More REading
And speaking of processes, having reading time on my daily to-do list is paying off. I read two novels this past week. Making research its own thing has also helped; anything work-related doesn’t count.
A lot of reclaimed reading time is time I would have spent blogging. I feel like I’m getting more value from picking up a novel than banging out a daily post. Neither of them is earning me money. Reading allows me to relax, and it recharges my creative batteries.