Creativity tips for a productive 2018 (II)

Read part 2 of my two-part series on productivity in 2018.

Hello readers,

I’m sure you’re excited about the new year 2018!

Did you see yesterday’s post? Okay, it was not yesterday and I apologize for that. However, it’s great that we are here today. I’m excited to share this productivity tips with you and this part will be plastered with infographics you can download and share. The previous post of this two-part series can be viewed here.

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Today, I’ll continue by debunking the myth of the “Once in a Lifetime Opportunity.” Heard that one?

I think a “once in a lifetime opportunity” happens more often than we are told to believe.

Imagine a world where you are banned to a life of misery if you do not take a once in a lifetime opportunity at 23 or 15 (because I heard that when I was 15). I guess whoever coined that term was just trying to get his kids to be serious and not play away their lives. He wanted to say “do not waste your life!” with a bit of drama.

There are many opportunities to do deep work, share your passion and create masterpieces so do not be rushed. However, there’s no better time to prepare and hone your craft than now!

And if you missed today’s opportunity, start tomorrow.

I perceive that the reason why the idea of a once in a lifetime opportunity seems widely accepted is that, while opportunities abound in life, you may not always be prepared to walk into them. Often, when the so-called door of opportunity opens, many writers do not always have the assurance of mastery and a box (or hard drive) full of first drafts but are full of mere intentions.

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Start today. then repeat tomorrow.

Stop thinking that “consistently and “daily” are two separate words.

Why do you think most people bathe and brush every day? The simple but elusive answer is that most people have been doing it for most of their lives. I am one of the hundreds of millions of people who find it difficult to hold my brush and hit the showers the second time (at night.) Why? Is it because I have unhealthy practices? No, I do! I think it’s because this is something most people try to learn after they are formed. Give that same person some motivation and time – and it will promptly become practice.

You surely remember a drill that you had to undergo while in elementary school – the multiplication table. Why do you think we were able to all memorize up till 12 X 12 by the time we graduated from primary school? Were we all smart? No!

Well, yes – because we did it every day! Smart move!

I  discovered that unlike 1 to 12, we were not required to learn 13 X 13 onwards and as a result, only a few people do know the multiplication table from 13. We were not required to read and learn it every day but introduced to calculators! So mastery is curated in the furnace of consistent practice.

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Consistency is a great virtue to help 2018 be a productive year. However, I must be quick to point out that writing consistency is not the same as publishing frequency.

Stop feeling like you need to get out your message right now!

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Write consistently, but you do not have to publish what you write a few minutes after you do. A few cases may differ, but for 99.99% of writers including me, we can wait a few hours to edit, scratch that – and rewrite; show our peers for critique before sharing if we choose to. While publishing frequency depends on your purpose, writing consistency should always go on.

Take copious notes.

Most of my completed works started as paper clippings, ideas scribbled into sheets, several journal posts and in recent years Google Keep, Apple Note, and Evernote entries. Sitting down to write or create is what you must do, but the short insights that come to you on the go as you practice daily life often become the spice that infuses realness into your work. They will seem sketchy at times, but only until you sit down to flesh them up.

Keep a notepad handy or download a note-taking app!

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Stop giving people permission to gauge your dreams

I met more people that did not believe that Donut could be produced and distributed free without debt than those who cheered me on. But it didn’t matter to me because, at that point, the passion that prompted me was too strong to be checked by expectations or peer pressure. I wish I have that pump every day!

Not everyone will understand or agree with the magnitude of your dreams, and surely not everyone will encourage you to take the steps to achieve them. In fact, in my experience, more often than not, you will find you are surrounded by well-meaning loving but complacent family and friends, who would rather play it safe. Often these people have put out discouragement not from a place of contempt but a place of fear  – they have dreamed but have not been courageous enough to pursue or stay on track.  They dropped out of the race and their misery only loves company. Do not join the band!

Step out of the judgment zone. Step out of the pressure. Let the expectation that compels you to be internally generated. Do or Do not. There is no try.

Record your voice and try writing prompts.

This is one huge productivity hack I have found useful. Sometimes, when ideas for work in progress hit me while engaging in an activity that makes it difficult to put a pen to paper, I simply pick out my voice recorder app and pour my mind. Then I can transcript later. Hearing your own voice boosts your morale and gives you hope for what’s possible. If you hit a block of ideas, try writing prompts. You can find great ones over the internet.

Unplug.

You cannot create masterpieces in front of the world. Trust me, distractions were present in the creative life before technology, and internet only makes it worse. Remember that for every one of the planned writing time you spend on the internet (except for research), you are shortchanging yourself. You are basking in the transient delights of internet communication, wallowing in self-pity when you view the plastic pictures of your fake virtual friends and making zero progress. Only deep work becomes a masterpiece and I have learned from experience that the greatest secret to creating deep work is to completely engage your mind in the process – this made possible when you unplug.

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Create a community

I have found creative communities help boost motivation. While I can’t always reach my mentors I have creative friends who are always available to add stokes to my fire. By their critique, my work becomes better. This year, find friends who you can learn from, bounce your ideas off of, share insights with and enjoy mutual edification. Sometimes, they are all you got, and all you need to supercharge!

The next step

While life is a continuum and the yearly demarcation of time merely serves to give us a framework to structure life, there’s so much to look forward to in 2018 – Yes, YOU can start fresh and intentional!

Happy New year!

Toluwanimi

 

TRACK RECORD: The Creatives’ Version

 

You were discouraged. Really discouraged.

With that wonderful presentation, you knew you had impressed your prospective client. You left no loose ends and your quote was the most affordable. But when the straight-faced Rep broke the news, a stream of questions flooded your mind – Did you price too low? Was your stuttering that bad? Did you dress funny? You began to question your competence.

Well, you asked and she said you weren’t given the project because you didn’t have enough work in your portfolio.

“Are you serious?” You almost said that.

Ever experienced that?

Well, I have. Exactly that. And I have friends who do computer programming, draw, bake, make hats, create clothes and accessories, blog, design graphics or whatever – at some point, they have experienced same, especially when they were starting out.

And we are all equally culpable. In whatever endeavor, prospective clients will second-guess your actions because you are not “experienced” – and by experienced, they mean you have fewer years/jobs logged in at your career. They want to see your track record before they trust you to deliver.

Yes – TRACK RECORD.

Sometimes though, I wonder, how a person ought to build his portfolio or gain experience if every prospective client seeks a veteran.

Well, like it or not, right or wrong – this is what happens (even in professions like medicine, law etc.) Rather than whine, I have decided to diligently study my craft both as a physician and a creative person (trust me, you don’t want to be found incompetent!).
I have also found encouragement in small beginnings and practice. This is the point of this post. Read on (especially of you are a “creative”).

How to build a track record

Design a logo/corporate branding package for an imaginary business empire. Think up an out-of-this-world title and design its book cover. Surprise a friend or family member with a portrait or intricately designed birthday cake and kindly ask him or her to snap with it and share with her friends (that should not be difficult in this “insta” world LOL). Take a case pro bono.

Let me give you real examples:

Gideon Ukueje programmed the database application for all UCHCF alumni reunions I attended while in Medical School), I was not reluctant to ask Ajilore Oluwatoyin to bake a cake for a friend’s birthday because she hasn’t baked for the first lady yet! Oloriade Kehinde is doing some amazing design work for friends and fellowship. I have lost count of the number of free projects Odediran Oluwatobi designed (I remember AwaKolture initiative training too). Joshua Tolorunleke, the teenagers you led into worship at Donut campaign is a mark on your track. When Joshua Mike-Bamiloye digitally painted Evelyn and Bob, I knew it was meant to be. Perfect Words Editors etched a milestone with the fine editing Samuel Aladejare Jnr did for my first book. Adepoju Oluwaseun, your [spiritual and intellectual] spoken and written presentations amidst the global audience are not insignificant. Bunmi Oke, Emmanuel Onimisi, Tosin Adebowale, Osho Samuel Adetunji, Aanuoluwpo Salako, and many others – y’all are the best!

I’m certain some people I mentioned here are shocked. They might not have seen what they did as building a track record. Well – you are building. And do not give up. Also keep giving others opportunity to build their craft. That’s part of what I think it means to build a tribe (Thanks, Jeff Goins).

While you do these things simply out of a PURE AND SINCERE HEART, SOMETIMES, GETTING PAID LESS THAN YOU DESERVE or not at all, you are surely building a benefit.

Likewise, House-officers, Interns, Fresh Graduates – the horizon is expansive and promising. Sow your seeds now! Build your track record. What is coming, I can’t say but I perceive it’s BIG!

Whew! #wiping_beads_of_sweat

Why did I write this post in the first place?

Okay, yes! I remember –

I thank you, Yemi Adetola for allowing me put a face on Shopright. I learned your first printed installment sold out fast. Thank you UCHCF and CMDA, for the opportunities to design some CLH and OMNI editions respectively. I believe I have set a standard other coming designers must beat (yes, I want the next designer to do better!) Aanuoluwapo Salako, thank you for allowing me craft your business card. Ayomikun Adeniran and Tofunmi Eyekpegha, Damilola Adeniji, because of you, I can stand among the Wedding Concept Designers. LOL! And others – Thank You!

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Studio 13:52 is in business – we do Graphic Design, Book Publishing and More; and we are getting better every day.

What more can I say – the God who saw David, Obadiah and Daniel and others SEES YOUR DILIGENCE. Do not be weary in well doing. #thereIsMore

P.S. My portfolio website opens soon.

P.S. 2: TRACK RECORD: the things that someone or something has done or achieved in the past regarded especially as a way to judge what that person or thing is likely to do in the future.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi

UNCHARTED: Part One

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Growing up, I always loved to draw, paint and make crafts, but I did those as a hobby. The journey towards being paid for doing what I love started in 2005. It was during my pre-senior secondary school break that I first used a computer for design during a month-long stint at a graphic design company. Since then, I have logged in hours of personal/online training, as well as individual and collaborative professional work in the more than 11 years that have followed.

Why am I saying this in the middle of August? It’s not as if this day or month marks any special anniversary (though this month, I registered studio13:52 at the DBA as well as opened shop on Upwork).

Well, you will figure out the answer on your own.

It’s said that you need at least 10,000 hours of practicing a craft to become an expert of some significance. That’s about ten years (if you practice three hours daily). Though I am a professional graphic designer with 11 plus years behind, I perceive myself to be only starting.

As I take contracts in my local county, from my home country or across continents on Upwork, I realize that many years behind me does not nullify the need to continue to learn with the right tools and make the right connections in the ever-evolving creative world. The next challenge after establishing basics is to keep evolving to stay on top of my game.

While Studio 13:52 moves into an uncharted territory (you will hear soon), with the horizon promising endless possibilities, one thing is certain – I am committed to delivering inspired imaginations (That’s some marketing there!).

Am I good? Maybe a little bit.

Do I know all there is to design? Absolutely not!

So to practice and evolve, I must – today, tomorrow and the day after.

Even so, it’s not ten thousand hours of energy in all directions. It’s focused, repetitive, coordinated practice in the direction of a meaningful passion. With an assurance of God’s blessing on my endeavor (key point!), time and concerted effort is needed.

Interestingly, this pretty much applies to my faith, writing, relationships, career, vocation, ministry, family life and every other thing in-between.

Maybe yours too, if you think about this.

I’ll write more soon.

Cheers,

Toluwanimi