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Day 78: the role of time 🕰️
Hi Artists! I’m so happy to share our next guest contributor with you. Herbert Lui is a longtime #The100DayProject community member, prolific writer, and champion for creative work. He’s got a book out about creativity (and our group got a mention! – check it out here 🥰).
Before I pass it over to Herbert…
Recap and reflect:
How many days did you do your project this week?
How are you feeling about entering the home stretch?
What’s next for you and your project?
There are only a few weekly Reels left – here’s where to submit your image or video for this week.
Our theme this week is the role of time in creativity.
Around this time last year, I started #The100DayProject by writing one post every day at my blog. 447 days later, here I am, continuing to write every day.
I’m thrilled to write about the theme of the role of time in creativity. Sometimes, it feels like there’s so much out of our control in creative work; we can choose how to spend our time. Two of the factors we control in our creative work are:
How much time we put into a work before we declare it complete
What we do with our time outside of work
As we’re now three quarters through this year’s #The100DayProject, I want to leave you with three questions in the hopes that you’ll consider how you can spend your time on yourself, and on your work:
What time limits can you set for yourself?
“The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30,” Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels says.
In 2022, the average adult in the United States spent 60 minutes on Netflix, 46 minutes on YouTube, and 46 minutes on TikTok.
In total, that’s 152 minutes a day (and over 920 hours per year)!
Imagine what you could create with that time. Even spending just five minutes from these platforms will move you further along your creative path than no minutes at all.
You can begin to reclaim time for creative work by setting yourself a manageable limit. You can use a technique called timeboxing, which means giving yourself a set amount of time to do one thing. A related question: Two years ago, I asked you, “What would your creative process look like if you only had 20 seconds to spare?”
When can you make idle time for yourself?
“The most important thing I noticed today was that only in stillness can we recognize movement,” Marina Abramović wrote.
Any creative process will involve various periods of incubation, or time spent not consciously thinking about the problem.
Practically speaking, we can’t actually make ourselves process things or produce creatively faster. In fact, it’s only when we allow our mind some peace and quiet that it can relax, and produce the ideas we so desire.
Don’t cover your mind in Netflix or podcasts—reject media’s influence and let your brain settle down. Take a bath or long shower. Try meditating with or without an app. Go for a trail walk or bike ride. Let rest and distraction become part of your creative process.
If you feel like there isn’t enough time for you to work—let alone to play!—I’d suggest a counternarrative: there’s always enough time.
When is your time to play?
“Work which remains permeated with the play attitude is art,” wrote philosopher John Dewey.
The challenge is to keep our creative work soaked in with play attitude; otherwise, creativity simply becomes another form of labor. We already know how to play—to do something for its own sake, to explore, to imagine.
It’s just that sometimes we go without it for so long that we may forget. No wonder there are classes to teach us how to relearn this valuable skill that was squished out of us. If you need ideas:
Go do improvisational comedy
Try a new instrument or a sport
Rent a bicycle and go for a ride
Buy a Lego set and build
Draw a cartoon
Feed your creative practice (and well-being) by making time for play. Even if you’re doing it for work, you may find infusing your work with the spirit of play to bring about an interesting opportunity or idea that wasn’t obvious to you at first.
These questions are variations of prompts that come from my book, Creative Doing. (Here’s a special link for $10 off!)
I wrote the book to support those of you who plan to continue your creative practice. Perhaps the completion of #The100DayProject is just a starting point for you — and you’ll keep going, until we hopefully meet again next year.