Make Something That Will Last A Century: Creating Timeless Work In A Content-Pushing World
In the online space, there's a serious drive to push-push-push any and all content out there. Whether or not that content is high quality or not? Eh... that's questionable. I mean honestly, how can we produce stellar, life altering, meaningful work when we're constantly under the strain of the fast, digital space? It's a thing all us modern creatives are facing. And it's something many of us are starting to resist wholeheartedly. (Like yours truly!)
Think of the greats. Monet, Picasso, Hemingway, Shakespeare. All of whom had years to dig deep into their artistic process, refine their skills, experiment daily and seek out inspiration over months upon years of time between their works (maybe not all the time, but we've all certainly felt those waves of creative inspiration come crashing onto us every once and a while, right?). Those pieces stand the test of time because they're thought out, methodical, and even more so, soulful. There's certainly no "rule" on this being true... and there are many wonderful, haphazardly made creations out there in the world! But it just makes sense, doesn't it?
How can we make work that is timeless? Well, for one, we can channel the greats. Nobody creates work to be a flash in the pan or receive only five minutes of fame. Nobody! So stop producing content that won't be engaging five, ten, fifteen or fifty years from today. Think with the future in mind. Will this work be something that you'll be proud to show your future creators of tomorrow? Think about it. If it's a resounding yes, then you've absolutely hit it out of the park! If it's a mediocre "meh" then maybe it's time to rework it, dig deeper with its focus, or count it asgreat practice for your masterpiece that is just around the bend. I think this is something we abundantly overlook as creatives, but it's so important.
And second? Leave the trends and popular opinions behind. Think about your core values. Does what you're producing align with what you really stand for? If not, drop it. Stick to your guns, create a mood board or revisit your brand mission statement... whatever you need to do. Get back to the good stuff and leave the here there, gone tomorrow trends behind. Being true to your core beliefs is much more meaningful for your audience. Fact. The truth is what sets your heart on fire is worth investing your time in, every single time. And better yet? What you are invested in, right down in your core is much more relatable and real. That sort of stuff shows. It's appealing and it's addicting for your audience. So drop the meaningless and get timeless.
LEAVE THE CYCLE
It sounds a lot easier that it really is. But quitting the burnout cycle is a guaranteed way to find yourself in a better head space. Because that self-created pressure of producing content daily or even weekly (regardless of the quality) is an absolute low place to be creatively. So what can you do? Well, take a break. Give yourself that day, that hour, that week or even a month to leave the cycle of pushing work out. I did it myself when I announced that I would be taking a "blog sabbatical." BEST DECISION EVER. In those couple of months, I stopped the endless pressure I put on myself and I found myself hyper-inspired by life's happenings and learning.
Professors, the absolute masters of their craft, are required to take sabbaticals. Further studies in their focus, experience traveling to see great works and professional development at festivals, meet ups and summits are a requirement for these masters. So why not you? Take a breathe, take a break, get adventurous, see inspiring work, step away from the cycle and seek out meaningful experiences in your field. I promise that your work and state of mind will improve dramatically.
And listen, I get it, we all can't stop the cycle... because I know mama's gotta pay the bills somehow! I don't EVER want to insinuate that I know what's best for your life... but I do know that burn out is a real thing. So breathe, take a walk if you need to, leave your project for the week and come back to it. Do what is right for your life and your art. With fresh eyes and a renewed, enlightened spirit... you'll be back to kicking butt in no time.
It's almost impossible in today's society, but the classic starlets and the elusive artists of the past always, always, always ruled their domain because they had a sense of mystery surrounding them. Their work teased their audiences by offering them a glimpse into their life (kept under wraps of deep privacy) and their semi-secretive, hush-hush approach to sharing themselves was addicting to viewers.
Think of how you can add an air of mystique to your process of sharing what you do. Maybe it's only sharing glimpses of your projects, or maybe it's a short, poetic status on your creative process you're currently using... you know your process, now try to add an element of mystique around what you do. Go get 'em, you starlet.
Timeless work is yours to make. So make something that will last a century, you wonderful human. Have you felt the content push? How did you overcome it? How do you create timeless work? Let us know your experience below in the comments!