Creating Shouldn't Feel Like Work

But too often it does.

I created constantly as a kid, tapered off as a teen, and by age 30 everything I did felt like work. What went wrong?

I unconsciously began to think about creating and working as the same things. They aren't.


Creating feels effortless. If it's hard, you're working.

This differentiation revived my creative energy.

Working requires cognitive leverage that removes you from the present by necessity (think planning, reflecting, and executing). It's nearly impossible to leverage those skills and not operate in the past or future. Creating doesn't happen there though.

Instead, create while you're totally present and delight in how authentic you are. The results are decidedly better.

Kids are constantly creative because they live in the Present. Remember the delight when you made something new as a kid? Let's get back there.


Here are three gut-checks that help:

#1. Ask why you're doing this.

"Is there some sort of guilt or prestige associated with my effort to create this?" If so you're likely working to meet expectations, not creating.

#2. Build in the right order.

Optimization kills creativity. Create, then refine.

Planning or editing pulls you out of the present moment and away from authenticity. Create until the tank is empty before you start to optimize.

#3. Go fast, stay stupid.

Since creating feels effortless it should move fast. Don't research or reflect, build. Stay stupid and get going.


Authenticity versus expectation, creating versus working, present versus not. Internalize the differences and I promise you will start to flow.