So this image has been popping up in my Facebook and reddit feeds a lot these past few weeks. At first I dismissed it as one of the many “cheesy wisdom” images floating around the net these days. This one was different though: I found myself thinking about it almost daily. At least for me, it seems to touch on something very real.
“…every creative effort is a bit like an A-Team episode. It requires four different mindsets – four distinct personalities with different skills and attitudes.”
This video presents one of the core ideas of Worklfow in under 4 minutes. If you prefer reading, a transcript appears below.
When I was a kid there was a famous series I used to watch, called The A-Team. In case you’re not familiar with it: it’s about a group of 4 guys, each with a unique personality and a specific set of skills. Hannibal was the man with the plan and a master of disguise; BA was a hot-headed muscle man and an excellent driver; ‘Face’ was a con artist with a soft spot for pretty girls; and Murdock was the barking mad pilot who could fly anything. And of course, every mission these guys had, somehow required most of these skills.
I was reminded of this TV series because in fact, every creative effort is a bit like an A-Team episode. It requires four different mindsets – four distinct personalities with different skills and attitudes.
“…That experience left a deep and long-lasting impression on me. A book about writing helped me become a better animator; what did that mean?”
Below is the book’s preface, in which I tell the story of how and why I decided to write it.
We all start life as creatives. As kids, we are fascinated with making stuff, and we have an imagination that knows no boundaries. Some of us lose interest early on; others continue to create as a hobby their entire lives; and some of us make it our career.
We quickly discover that professional creativity comes with a sting. It is no longer the relaxing pastime it once was. Creativity is a wild creature, and it doesn’t like it when you try to harness it with plans and deadlines. Frustration and pain often dominate the first few years in one’s creative career.
“I won’t completely deny the elements of luck and inspiration, but in my experience – in most cases, when work doesn’t flow, chances are you’re not letting it. As usual, it’s very much about the process.”
Don’t you love it when work just flows? Everything you do falls right into place, like magic. Then there are those other times. Depressing, frustrating times. Things just won’t fall into place, and trying to force them only makes it worse. That’s the opposite of flow, also known as “feeling stuck”.
What makes the difference?
I won’t completely deny the elements of luck and inspiration, but in my experience – when work doesn’t flow, chances are you’re not letting it. As usual, it’s very much about the process.
Here are four questions to help you figure out if your working habits sabotage your creative flow.