Creative Work Is Fruitless Until You Do This One Thing

I put myself through college planting trees in the mountains of British Columbia.

And though the work was physically demanding, in one crucial way it was strangely easy:

YOU KNEW WHEN THE JOB WAS DONE.

Jam your shovel in, crack a hole, slide in a tree, kick the hole shut, done. Rinse and repeat ’till suppertime.

For most of history, this was the nature of our work: simple projects that were physically demanding but psychologically straightforward.

Dig the hole. Mend the fence. Fell the tree.

In contrast, one of the chief characteristics of CREATIVE WORK is that it has no borders, no clear path of completion, no finish line.

For with creative work, you can always

Iterate
Pivot
Append
Extend
Revise

Your pioneer blood still half-expects your creative work to reveal it’s own boundaries to you… half-expects your projects to be as linear and plodding as clearing stones from a field.

But the book you’re writing, the business you’re building, the campaign you’re launching… there is no built-in end point. No intrinsic point of completion.

That is for YOU to decide.

And if you sit on your ass, waiting for cues from the material itself, you AND your project will rot on the vine.

Do you see? The chief skill of the creator… the one that ultimately determines the level of INCOME and IMPACT your work will yield… is not hustle or execution: it’s the deem.

It’s your ability to DEEM a project done.

It’s YOU telling the work when it’s done, not the other way around.

It’s your willingness to draw a line in the sand and declare a project COMPLETE: to subject it to the abuse and battery of the marketplace by force of will, come what may.

Stop thinking of your creations as gems to be unearthed:

They’re just meat on the board.

They will never be “done”: not until you lift the cleaver, deliver the chop, and deem it so.

So stop chasing the 5% improvement that doubles the project length.

Stop delaying the project’s completion to spare yourself the pain of the market’s judgement.

Stop waiting for your projects to reach a point of such overwhelming refinement that all doubt is removed.

Decide what level of excellence the project requires, bring it to that level, and then deem that fucker done.

If the project succeeds, fine.

if it fails, fine.

Either way, begin the next.

That is all.

You are king here. Wield the ultimate creative power:

Deem with extreme prejudice.

Launch with impunity.

Else you die with your vision unconsummated.

Else you go on, hollowed:

Ego spared, lives unchanged.

***

Bryan Ward is the founder of Third Way Man and author of the LIT Black Paper

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