Productober 9, a New Book Idea, and Something Creatives Really Need to Know

Posted: October 9, 2021 in Uncategorized

As you know by now, I have upped the ante on my participation in Inktober this year, by deciding to create a product each day along with the prompt. Well, today’s prompt was the word pressure. It’s something most creatives know something about, but I decided to take it in a slightly different direction. I came up with a graphic I really liked, but I knew on it’s own it would not make much of a product. There is however a book idea that has been percolating in the back of my mind, and the two came together wonderfully.

You see there is a thing a lot of creative people say that I find absolutely maddening. It’s “I work best under pressure.” I know a lot of people who think that way and it’s absurd. I just want to ask “You really think you do your best work, when you have no time, you’re stressed, exhausted and backed up against a wall?” I’m sorry but it’s a crock. Here’s what it really means. “I was blocked creatively and so I procrastinated, and now I have to put up a Hail Mary, in hopes of not getting fired.” Now I’m fully aware where there are times where we are given ridiculous deadlines and we feel the pressure to come through, but we should all try to make sure that is the exception, rather than the rule. By the way, saying “I work best under pressure…” is a great way to make sure you keep getting ridiculous deadlines, because people want to get their best work and the likelihood is they procrastinated too, but it’s okay because you work best under pressure.

To be clear, sometimes the hail Mary’s connect in big ways, and we can almost talk ourselves into believing the lie, but the truth is pressure is a great way to diminish your creativity. The far better way is to learn to say no to projects that have ridiculous deadlines if you can, and to work consistently across time so that you have done most of the work well before the deadline. Record your ideas as you get them, set manageable goals, break the project up into pieces and set deadline benchmarks on the way to the eventual deadline. We don’t need pressure to be creative, we need to put in a consistent effort across the days, and do the work.

I think of my current life as a pastor. I have all kinds of things that pop up during the course of the week, but in the midst of it all, I have one consistent deadline. At ten o’clock every Sunday I need to be ready to step into the pulpit with a well constructed, informative message that will help and bless my people. I know guys who wait til Saturday night to start writing: in the “business” we call that a “Saturday Night Special,” and while it may fulfill the barest requirements, most of the time the congregation knows it, and they, not to mention the Lord, deserve better.

Right now someone is probably thinking me to be a legalist and screaming, what about spontaneity and following the Spirit. I have had a few times where it felt like the Lord was changing direction at the last minute, and when that happens, I ride the wave of the Spirit and the Lord delivers. That is however the exception, rather than the rule. To do that every week, feels a lot like putting the Lord to the test. For the most part, I believe my calling is to, “Rightly divide the Word of Truth.” Putting in the effort of study and preparation.

In any creative pursuit, whether we are working for the Lord of a human client, we need to do our very best work. If we want to be in what we’re doing for the long haul, we will avoid pressure and the detrimental things that it does to our bodies, and instead, show ourselves approved by showing up day after day and doing the work. That’s faithfulness, and faithfulness is ultimately what we are called to.

You don’t work best under pressure. You do your best work when you show up daily, and do the work.

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