I think that a lot of people think that creativity is all about having fun. They process documents and total up spreadsheets and dream of just being able to paint or write or create all day long instead. As though it wasn’t “real” work.
Being creative is a lot of work! Of course it’s fun sometimes, but it’s hard work. And it’s odd work. I can’t tell you for sure if I’ll be able to design a web site in 10 hours. Sometimes inspiration strikes and it only takes 1 hour. Sometimes I sit and stare at my computer and struggle for days.
I always know a design will be good when I “see it in my head” and just copy it down. I don’t know where it comes from or how it happens. Sometimes the instant someone starts talking to me about their web site, I see it in my head, and feel inspired to rush home and create it before I lose it. Sometimes, it takes a long time to see it in my head. I’ll fidget with colors, move the elements around the page, play Tetris for awhile, come back to it, play with the colors again, move things around again…
I’ve always struggled with that fidgeting and playing stage. I never felt like I was doing “real” work. Then I found this article about Procrastination and Incubation. I’m so happy to learn that all that struggling and fidgeting is really part of the work, part of the process of being creative.
But I can also see how from the outside, it doesn’t look like work. So let me assure you, it is real work.