43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Having a job _and_ a creative life

Creativity Coaching: 11 Tips to surviving a day job with your creativity intact

Scratch a waiter and you’re likely to expose a dancer or a painter. Talk to a computer programmer and you may quickly find a hobbyist robot builder. And that guy who wrote the back of your shampoo bottle? He still hopes his verse will make it into Poetry one day.

But, keeping the creative flame alive while The Man’s riding your ass kills a lot of promising artists (and, to be fair, probably a much larger number of really lousy ones). In either case, try a few of these tips to maintain focus on your creative endeavors even as you pay the bills.

Number one seems like a great place to start:

1. Name your vision.

If you’re in love with working in a particular medium, you’re heads above the crowd because you know what you love to do. And once you know what you love to do, you can create a vision of how you will express that in your life. If you love to dance, your vision may be to choreograph your own dances or have a dance troupe. If you love to work with color, your vision may be to paint lots of canvases or illustrate children’s books. Your vision functions much like the keel on a sailboat, cutting invisibly through the sea to keep the boat upright. If you’re working a day job and feel the urge to make art but have no larger vision, you probably find yourself scraping through the day with annoyance gnawing holes in your belly, saddled with a general sense of dissatisfaction and malaise. This isn’t surprising, as you have nothing to carry you through the everyday and your feet soon start to drag in the sand. Visions are buoyant bubbles that lift the heart and make it sing. What’s your vision for your art? What do you really want to do?

I LOVED this, thank you. Would... by kim MacQueen (not verified)

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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