Monday Wisdom: Creativity, Discipline, and John Green

I read an AMA by John Green several months back and it planted a seed of change in how I thought about creativity, and writing in particular.

The redditor asked about what John Green has learned since 2007, when the Green brothers made their debut as the Vlogbrothers. If you don’t know about the project or Vlogbrothers, just keep reading. It’s notย essential to his point.

I think the biggest lesson I took away from B[rotherhood]2.0 was about discipline. Just making something for people every other day for a year stretched me a lot and showed me that I had more creative bandwidth than I initially believed.

I’d always imagined discipline and deadlines as the enemies of creativity, but for me at least they made me more creatively productive. That changed the way I approach my work.

This wasn’t shocking news, or even news at all. Write everyday. Writers say that all the time! And many of them do it! And I’ve known this for years!

But somehow this quote was a revelation, probably because I’ve been following the project for a few years now and somehow seeing the product as it’s made (kind of) instead of just once it’s done (like a book) drove the point home in a way nothing else has.

Lots of my favorite people, it turns out, are disciplined about their creativity. The Vlogbrothers, of course, but also Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, Chris Guillebeau, and does Momastery still keep a daily writing date? There are tons more, I’m certain.

So I’m being more intentional, and uncharacteristically disciplined about my writing. I’ve never been one for routines (ugh) but I am finding myself liberated by them.

It’s rather strange.

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