Rising to the Surface

Living the Prolific Life:

The prolific life has been characterized by abundant inventiveness and limitless creativity. Prolificacy has also been unnecessarily enshrouded in a veil of mystery and the sources of artistic inventiveness are too often viewed as out-of-reach for the average person. Perhaps it’s for this reason that artistic inspiration has frequently been attributed to muses, the channeling of spirits, etc.

In spite of perceptions surrounding prolific creativity, there are several documented commonalities that consistently appear in the lives of prolific people. Indeed, psychological literature has some definite insights into commonalities of the prolific and has yielded these . . .

7 Common Characteristics of Prolific People

Highly prolific people tend to:

  1. Be firmly settled in their creative identities. Prolific artists don’t question their artistic identities. They own the title of artist, writer, musician, etc. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important. Prolific people aren’t shy about what they do, or about their love of art. When they have corporate jobs they tend to view themselves as writers with desk jobs rather than a corporate employees who also write.
  2. Operate from a bedrock of stability. Despite the stereotypical image of the mercurial and whimsical artist, most highly prolific people have managed to pin down a lot of variables in their life; they aren’t constantly rearranging the logistics of life and reconfiguring their life situations. As a result, they can bring their full attention to bear upon the creation process.
  3. Get “adopted” early by mentors or sponsors. Prolific artists tend to have received significant artistic mentorships at the beginning of their creative careers.
  4. Get an early start: Prolific artists tend to have developed the rapid production habit early in their careers. They tend to have developed the production habit very shortly after beginning their artistic endeavors.
  5. Be well adjusted. Prolific people tend to be sensitive, confident, open-minded, curious, intellectually flexible, willing to work very hard, and have a sense of humor.
  6. Have a habit of writing. Highly prolific people tend to work even when they’re not inspired. They’ve developed the production habit.
  7. Intrinsic interest. Prolific people are intrinsically motivated, almost without exception. They love their work and, in general, would do it (in some form or another) even if it paid much less or not at all.

The above article was a guest post on Zen Habits by Clay Collins (of The Growing Life).

The above image, “Rising to the Surface”, is a recent encaustic piece by me.

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