Baseline Work and Being Boring

Austin Kleon, in this video interview from a few years ago, says that he has a “baseline” of creative work per day. I think it’s changed now for him from Instagram posts of blackout poems to blogging daily.

Either way, it’s another helpful reminder of his tip to “Be Boring” (which I mentioned here). Perhaps, if I want to make good work, the real trick isn’t to work in some creative frenzy; it’s more likely that my best work will come when I have a baseline of work that I produce every day, whether or not it’s “good” work. Or as Kleon says in Steal Like an Artist:

The solution is really simple: Figure out what time you can carve out, what time you can steal, and stick to your routine. Do the work every day, no matter what No holidays, no sick days. Don’t stop. What you’ll probably find is that the corollary to Parkinson’s Law is usually true: Work gets done in the time available.

That reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend of mine a couple of months ago. I mentioned that it’s difficult for me to want to write things publicly, because I feel like there are so many people that are more well read and researched than I am. What could I possibly have to say that will contribute to this conversation? Not to mention — most of the time I think my writing is subpar. In response, he said (and I’m paraphrasing), “In my view, the reason I write now is not because what I think I’m writing now is good. I’m writing now because I want to have something great to write later.”

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