Jump on Instagram for a minute, and you’ll likely cross a photo of someone living their best life. They travel whenever they want, live without a care in the world, and work new projects whenever inspiration strikes. And you might think, “Man, I just wish I had that much freedom.” You might think they have that freedom because they happened to win the lottery or have a great inheritance, and very rarely that is true. But for most people who are living their best life and making it look flawless, they have a secret that you can steal. Want to know what that secret is? They are planners. What?! They’re not just carelessly spontaneous? No, quite the opposite. Most people who are able to live with such true freedom have planned it intentionally.
I know I just dropped a pretty big truth bomb on you, and you might be disappointed. You wanted a trick that takes no actual effort. Around here I like to say that you have to plan to be spontaneous....
Last week, we gave you a challenge: spend one intentional hour on a creative project that you've been putting off.
And that challenge was just as much for me as it was for all of you, so I thought I'd pop in with an update.
My goal was to spend one hour recording parts for the NTVTY record that I've been putting off for over four years. Seems pretty easy, right?
Full disclosure: I didn't do it until today, when I realized that the deadline was rapidly approaching.
I had completely intended to do it on Monday, which is Michelle and my day off. But I didn't make an intentional plan to make it happen. I did however restring my acoustic guitar on Sunday night to make it easier on myself, so I should get credit there, right?
But when Monday came around, I let myself get distracted by other things. I spent a couple hours trying to rewire the stereo in my van to work with the rear speakers. Then, I watched some TV and played video games. By the time I remembered that I...
Five years ago, things with SPACESHIPS had slowed down for a few months. Our drummer was working 70 hour weeks and our bassist was preparing to get married.
And then there was me, with nothing extra going on and all these musical ideas that I couldn't share with anyone.
So I wrote a solo album.
But five years later, it still hasn't been released. I've played those songs live a number of times. Sometimes I've even played through the entire album. I've even come up with a name (NTVTY) and made some social media pages! But only one song has been recorded—and it's not even finished.
If you're reading this, I'm sure that story sounds all too familiar. Creatives are infamous for their tendency to start a thousand projects before they've even finished one. We have all of these dreams and aspirations, but following through with those projects is another story.
But why? What's holding us back? Let me try to answer that by looking at the excuses I've told...
Maybe you say that you are not an artist, that you couldn't even draw a stick figure if you wanted to. Well, I believe that's not true. Creativity is part of the human experience, and making art is one of the best ways to express that creativity. And you can learn to do anything with enough practice. Now we can make a broad definition of what art is. You might be more into the culinary arts, music, or performing arts, but that's still art. And there are many reasons why you should be making more of it. Today we'll just look at six of the best reasons why you should be making more art.
Yesterday morning, Michelle's grandma stopped by for breakfast before leaving town. We made jalepeño and herb omelets, a pot of fresh ground French press, and ate Concord grapes straight from the vine growing over our pergola.
As we were tidying up dishes, she said to us, "Oh, this was just so special."
I responded, "This is actually pretty normal for us most mornings."
Just about every morning, we wake up and make a big, delicious breakfast. If the weather allows, we eat it on the back patio, right under the previously mentioned grapevine. We take our time with it, talking at our leisure before getting on to our work for the day.
It's a simple luxury, but it means a lot.
When we were teaching, our mornings were completely shot. We felt lucky if we had time to stop at McDonald's for a McMuffin before school. Big, leisurely breakfasts were a Saturday-only treat, and one that we relished.
One day at such a breakfast, Michelle and I were talking about our dreams and...
In the last several years of running our shop, we've run into a bunch of people who have said things like, "I could never do that—I'm just not that creative."
Often, we feel like creativity is an inherent state of our being. We either are creative, or we are not. Someone else might be able to look at a canvas and imagine worlds hitherto unknown, but certainly, I cannot.
The good news is, that's not true. In fact, a NASA study of 1600 4- and 5-year-olds found that 98% of them performed at genius levels of creativity. The same test administered to adults only found 2% displaying that same level.
Your creativity is like a muscle. If you don't use it, you lose it. It atrophies.
But that doesn't mean you can't get it back. There are a number of things you can do to get those creative juices flowing again!
Here are a few of our favorites.
One of the hardest parts of any creative work is that first idea. Few things are as...
In college, there was a bit of a recurring joke any time anyone mentioned they were getting a business degree.
“So basically, you don’t actually have an idea of what you want to do when you graduate?”
Me and my friends from the arts, music, and philosophy departments would chuckle at their bland lack of creativity.
If they flipped the script on me, I would tell them I wanted to be a drifter—take a tour on a missionary ship, maybe hitchhike across South America...I even mapped out a route for a globe-circling solo boat trip.
When I was asked why (and everyone asked), I would answer with some sort of pithy statement about the world being too big and exciting to not see as much of it as I can. But in reality, there was a much deeper reason motivating my wanderlust.
I was terrified of responsibility.
Taxes were a mystery to me. I didn’t know the first thing about managing a checking account. People would talk about investments, and...
Henri Matisse is right. This creativity stuff is risky. You are taking your ideas out of your head and putting them into the world. And you're hoping people like them. You're hoping they get it. You're hoping they understand what you wanted to say. But life doesn't always happen like we hope. And so you think of all the things that could go wrong if you share your creative work. What if no one likes them? What if it breaks? What if people see the real me and don't like me?
I get it. When you create something, anything at all, it's personal. There's part of you in the work you create. And while that can be scary, it's also the thing that makes this sort of work kind of sacred. You are creating something that never existed before you made it. You are bringing an idea to life. It's like you are a mad scientist, a god, or an artist.
But really. The work you make is important.
Think of all the creative work that has affected your life. That has given you a...
The modern entrepreneur's vocabulary is filled with statements like these.
"Rise and grind."
"Hustle like you mean it."
"Your dreams only work as hard as you do."
We've even said a couple of those to you guys. And while there's a lot of truth there, there's a lot of danger too.
One of the reasons we started working for ourselves was because we were tired of other people deciding what we were worth. Michelle was putting 70 hours a week into teaching, planning lessons, and grading. One year, she was even honored as Teacher of the Year.
She got a plaque.
No bonus, no raise, no pizza party. Just a plaque, and some snot-nosed students asking, "how come she got Teacher of the Year?"
She got paid the same for busting her ass as she would have if she just had the kids watch videos and fill out worksheets every day.
After I got laid off, she decided she was going to bust her ass for herself, and put in her notice.
Things have been busy over here at the FitzGerald household. Not only are we working hard to build up resources for all you killer creators, but on Sunday, we're throwing the fourth Rebel Art Fest, our very own art and music festival!
A few years ago, we saw a gap in our local community. There were tons of great artists who were a little outside of the "mainstream." Artists whose work was a little too out there or too outsider or too niche or too punk rock for the mainstream audience, so they often got overlooked at other art shows and music festivals. But that didn't mean they were any less deserving of celebration.
Then we had a funny thought...
What if we just organized our own festival for them?
We filed a street closure permit with the city, called some artist and musician friends, and just did the damn thing. We put a tent in our parking lot and borrowed a sound system from a friend. We lined up artists on the sidewalk outside of our shop.
And people actually...
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