On May 7, 2019…
I went to hear prolific writer and artist, Austin Kleon, give a talk at the library.
Kleon is a New York Times best-selling author. That night he was on tour, promoting his book, Keep Going. It’s his third in a trilogy about creativity.
I was in the 3rd or 4th row. There were probably a hundred people behind me — maybe more — packing this oddly shaped room in the basement of a Chicago Public Library.
“Any questions?” he said.
I raised my hand.
He looked at me and nodded.
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“Do you ever feel like no matter how much work you do, you can or should be doing more?” I said.
“Mmmm,” he said. And then he sipped some water.
I pressed the red button in the voice memos app on my phone because I wanted to get this shit right.
“Yeah, always,” he said. “If you get into that productivity trap, there’s always going to be more work to do, you know?
“Like, you can always make more. I think that’s why I’m a time-based worker. I try to go at my work like a banker. I just have hours. I show up to the office and whatever gets done gets done.
“And I’ve always been a time-based worker. You know, like, ‘did I sit here for 3 hours and try.’ I don’t have a word count when I sit down to write. It’s all about sitting down and trying to make something happen in that time period — and letting those hours stack up.
“So that’s sort of how I get over it.”