It’s the end of the year, and as we head into a new year with unforeseen possibilities, it’s time to examine our creative processes. How do we produce our work? Is it serving us? Chances are there are portions of our approach, being, vision, and expression that can be challenged, shaped, and refined. The best way to do that is through the lens of memoirs by two drastically different yet similar artists. Combining lessons from the worlds of drama, improv, sketch comedy, and performance art, today’s episode of Getting Work to Work features seven creative lessons to practice in the new year.

Seven creative lessons to practice in the new year:

  1. Practice the core of Abramović’s work: “…endurance, concentration, perception, self-control, willpower, and confrontation with mental and physical limits.” She lists several exercises to do this, but one in particular made me think: “SLOW-MOTION EXERCISE. For the entire day, do everything very slowly: walking, drinking water, showering. Peeing in slow motion is very difficult, but try.” What exercises can you do daily that will help you connect with this core of her work?
  2. Another exercise from Abramović: Sit at a table every day and write down ideas for several hours. Keep the ones you like and throw the ideas you hate into a trashcan below the desk. The spin on this exercise is that each day, Abramović would keep the trashed ideas and in three months, those would be the ideas worth exploring. She realized that fear was causing ideas to be trashed.
  3. Avoid “corporate blandification.” I absolutely love this phrase from Odenkirk because it explains so much about the state of our world with saying very little. How can you avoid corporate blandification? Take a risk, try something different, use a different color palette, get uncomfortable.
  4. Another gem from Odenkirk: “make it work.” A writing process that “transformed many a half-assed notion into hard laughs.”
  5. Always have another project ready to go.
  6. Odenkirk: In the face of rejection, never stop making things.
  7. Abramović: Don’t let fear stop you from taking a chance on a creative idea.

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