Creative Productivity

One goal that’s been on my Someday / Maybe list for many years is to write a novel (or even multiple novels). I’ve done lots of nonfiction writing, so I think it would be interesting to explore fiction writing. I like the idea of delving deeper into my imagination and connecting dots through a different medium.

I also love to turn personal goals into social goals by inviting people to join in such experiences.

This aligns well with the next deep dive I have planned, which is on the topic of creative productivity, tentatively called Amplify. I’d like to start creating this course during the summer.

I have a pretty large body of published work, including video games, articles, videos, podcasts, personal development courses, and hundreds of books published under my name in various languages. I wrote one of those books myself, and the others were compilations of different articles that people created from my uncopyrighted blog posts. I’ve also done many speeches and live workshops and even a little music.

Since 1993 the creative professional path has been my way forward in life. I got to see my first published commercial product (a collection of computer games) on the shelf at Comp USA shortly after I graduated from college. Those games weren’t very good, but that project got me started. I’m glad I got an early since since it took time to figure out how to earn a living from creative work and to become proficient.

The relationship between creativity and productivity fascinates me. It’s such a dance of yin and yang, part exploration and discovery and part disciplined action and goal focus. If this balance is off, it’s hard to converge on creative work that feels worthy of publishing. Either we crank out uninspired drivel, or we get lost in the idea space too long.

I’d love to explore this relationship between creativity and productivity more deeply this year and invite people to delve into this with me. So that’s the basis of our next deep dive. How can we be brilliantly creative and consistently productive at the same time?

I’d like to do something a bit more hands-on this time though. In addition to creating an all new course, I think it would be worthwhile to invite each person who participates to commit to creating some kind of creative work. What each person creates is up to them.

Possible creative works could include:

  • book (fiction or nonfiction)
  • screenplay
  • video game (at least a playable prototype)
  • software app
  • music album (or perhaps one well-polished song)
  • stand-up comedy routine
  • artwork
  • blogging / writing series
  • YouTube videos (build a following)

Alternatively, people could also use the deep dive to focus on creative skill building through exploration with smaller projects. This could include:

  • musical instrument practice
  • photography
  • painting
  • 3D art
  • programming
  • cooking
  • chess
  • parenting

Many creative skills have much in common, especially when it comes to being productive. The lessons I learned from designing computer games apply well to designing personal growth courses or laying out a book. One key lesson I struggled to learn was how to adapt certain media to fit my strengths. It took me years to figure out how to create and publish courses efficiently after so many years of blogging. I had to learn different methods for managing short-form and long-form creative projects.

I’m still in the very early phase of figuring out the scope of this new deep dive, but the initial inspiration is leaning me towards inviting participants to work on a real creative project as they go through the course, so they can apply the lessons to a genuine project.

In fact, I would like to do the same by writing a novel as we go through the deep dive together. Since that’s a new medium for me, it would make it extra challenging. If I’m to weave two major projects together like this though (a major new course and a novel), I’d need to go at a gradual enough pacing, so I can devote sufficient time to each. So I may develop and publish the lessons of this course more slowly if I go that route. That would likely be fine since then it would give people doing the course more time to work on their own creative projects while they go through the course.

An alternative approach would be to have two phases: First we do the deep dive course, and then we tackle our creative projects as a separate phase. Perhaps we could have check-in calls for that second phase, do some Q&A, share lessons, and help each other work through any blocks that arise.

For now I’m just sharing an early version of this idea, which still needs a lot of development. If you find this theme of creative productivity appealing and want to share feedback about it, please let me know your thoughts. I think it has some potential to be a really engaging and rewarding deep dive.

If you join Conscious Growth Club next week – we open for new members April 27 to May 1 – you’ll get access to this new deep dive as part of your membership automatically. Then we can also use the CGC forums to support each other as we go through it. I’ll also make it available as a standalone deep dive, as with our other courses.

Receive Steve's new articles by email.

Read Creative Productivity by Steve Pavlina