There’s something about this time of the year. Maybe it’s something in the water. Perhaps it’s the fresh food in the garden. Or the combine dust in the air.
Whatever it is, it’s the creative time of the year.
All my domains renew around this time of the year. My font subscription renews around this time of the year. A whole host of annual app subscriptions renew at this time of year.
Year in, year out, August to October is my creative time of year. So many stereotypically creative ideas burst onto the scenes right now — new blogs, new photography, new ideas. It always happens this time of year.
I look at this with some disenchantment and some melancholy. The entire “creativity” and “productivity” world feels more exclusive than ever before. Only those with predetermined careers or occupations are allowed to participate in the conversation.
What are those occupations? My understanding is they are occupations which produce something interesting for others to consume. This could be a YouTube video, or a self-help course, or photography on Instagram, or a new website design. One talented video-maker creates a video for another talented video-maker to watch.
(I sense the irony. Likely only a few other bloggers will read this blog post!)
Lawyers don’t produce YouTube videos. Healthcare workers don’t sell self-help courses. Bricklayers don’t build new websites. These aren’t “creative” occupations. In order for these folks to be “creative”, they need to hate their jobs and have sideline gigs that unlock their creative potential! And if they just take that sideline gig seriously enough, they’ll be able to quit their boring day job!
I get it — this is a generalization. Generalizations are rarely helpful.
But I’ve grown tired of the notion that classic occupations and classic ways to get the job done don’t fit inside the modern creativity and productivity bubble. That keeping a scratchpad with numbers and contact information isn’t good enough — that you have to keep that stuff inside Obsidian so you can connect those phone numbers with who-knows-what and be a proper knowledge worker.
I’m quite proud of the level of creativity I went through to mould my Mac into a powerhouse hybrid Mac-and-Windows notebook. All on an M1 Mac to boot, which comes with all the intricacies of an ARM processor in a Windows world. I use this M1 Pro MacBook Pro every day to run and work inside a small accounting office, to complete some sideline writing work, to run our growing real estate business, and to contribute as much charitably as possible in the community. There was a time when a Mac was simply impossible to incorporate into all these different worlds.
I help build business deals throughout the year. I help clients with effective tax planning. I’ve always felt incredibly creative when putting these sorts of services together for a client, but there’s no way this would be considered creative in the “creativity” or “productivity” world.
I’m currently experimenting with Loom as a way to add a personal touch to emails, to standardize the creation of standard operating procedure manuals, and to eliminate some meetings. I’ve used Notion to build out an entire client relationship management solution that tracks time, doubles as a cloud storage service, and tracks all projects across the office. Are either of these creative ventures? Or is this just the type of work I’m ultimately supposed to hate to harness the true potential of my creative brain?