The Aggressive Work Ethic of Highly Creative People


Magicians. Curious bunch.

They pull furry mammals out of their hats. Levitate humans. Hide automobiles out of sight.

The great ones make a killing, jet set around the globe, and beat groupies off with a brass-tipped wand.

The not-so-great ones — the average ones — are still amazing.

To this day I don’t know how my daughter knows which card I picked out of that deck (Jack of clubs). And she’s still not telling.

Moxie killed the muse

Despite the name, though, what my daughter did — what all magicians do — isn’t magic. It’s a trick, an illusion: “something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.”

Getting to that point where the illusion is flawless (thus, magical) involves hard work.

Content creators are no strangers to hard work. But we often view what they do — their level of originality — as magical, something even mystical.

But it’s nothing more than hard work. And everyday creativity. Combined.

Moreover it has nothing to do with the muse showing up and everything to do with moxie.

For example …

A metaphor for the creative process

Imagine you knock on creativity’s door.

Hands in your pocket you listen. Nothing. You look down at your watch. You look down the street. You look at the peephole.


It seems no one is home. So this is what you do … kick in the door.

Kick in the door and go inside.

Raid the refrigerator. Gut the cupboards. Drain the hot water heater with long showers. Stay up late.

In other words, make yourself at home.

And when someone shows up to evict you, fight them off tooth and nail. Nothing magical about that. The work has to be done.

As Mark McGuinness said, “Many a creative breakthrough starts as a creative break-in.”

Moral of the story

Listen: people want to pretend the hard work required to create doesn’t exist. They want the spoils without the sweat.

Unfortunately, writing is hard.

And because of that the “magic” of a world-class content creator rests NOT in her muse, but in her work ethic.

Which is usually simple and aggressive. Almost unforgivable.

But she doesn’t mind since the reward is the sweet satisfaction of something original.

Something beautiful.

So … what are you waiting for? Go and kick in that damn door.

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Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

The post The Aggressive Work Ethic of Highly Creative People appeared first on Copyblogger.

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