My Notebook

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Embracing The Creative Process As An Entrepreneur

As a creative entrepreneur, I’ve learned to embrace those middle of the night moments when I’m wide awake, solving problems. If I grab my laptop, I can record my thoughts or make needed edits before falling back asleep. This stands in stark contrast to years past – before I understood how my brain worked – when I’d spend restless nights anxiously trying unsuccessfully to sleep.

This past year, as I built my creative services business, I often recalled the challenges highlighted in “Creativity Inc.” – of designing a company culture that enables sustainable creativity within the constraints of deadlines. I’ve come to recognize my body only allows me to intensely focus for so long before requiring recovery. Tools like WHOOP help me gauge when I’m approaching the danger zone of crashing. Of course, that doesn’t prevent the occasional mismatch like last night when WHOOP suggested I sleep by 7:15pm…which explains my current midnight wakefulness!

As part of my December of #DesignForward series, I’ll share what I’ve learned over this first year of solopreneurship about syncing work rhythms to spark creativity – as well as lessons from nearly 20 years of designing online courses centered on optimal user experiences. 

Rest and renewal cycles allow me to tap into those late night bursts of inspiration while still delivering for clients. Plenty of trial and error already on balancing business demands with the ebbs and flows of the creative process! Just last week, back-to-back late nights generated clarity on better ways to present proposals to potential clients. Such simmering incubation fuels innovation – much as my doctoral dissertation required midweek ocean getaways to replenish the muse. Call it heeding the inner geek Lizzy’s orders for what my creative process requires!

I would love to hear from others on strategies you’ve uncovered for blending business obligations with your peak creative cycles. Please message me or reply to my LinkedIn share post with what’s worked in striking that balance for your own entrepreneurial creative pursuits!

December Read: Creativity Inc. [click to purchase]

In his book Creativity, Inc., Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull unveils the groundbreaking ideals and techniques that built one of the most creative and profitable film studios in the world. With captivating storytelling and inventive artistry, Pixar movies have come to define contemporary animation. Catmull takes readers inside Pixar’s relentlessly imaginative “Braintrust” sessions and post-mortems, offering wisdom on fostering originality, managing teams, communicating openly across organizations, allowing for risk-taking, and above all, protecting the creative process. Both a leadership manual and an insider’s tale tracing Pixar’s trajectory to its current golden era, Creativity, Inc. explores what truly feeds innovation in art and business.