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Podcast: The Necessity Of Unnecessary Creating

by | The Accidental Creative

Your “on demand” job cannot contain the totality of your creative ideas and energy. We all must embrace “unnecessary creating” in order to maintain a portfolio of activity that helps us grow in skills, drive, and the ability to take advantage of opportunities.

Leave a comment below with an answer to the question “what act of unnecessary creating will you engage in this week?” to have a chance to win signed paperback copies of [amazon_link id=”1591846242″ target=”_blank” ]The Accidental Creative[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”1591846994″ target=”_blank” ]Die Empty[/amazon_link]. Winner will be chosen on June 4, 2015.

Todd Henry

Todd Henry

Positioning himself as an “arms dealer for the creative revolution”, Todd Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of five books (The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words, Herding Tigers, The Motivation Code) which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks and consults across dozens of industries on creativity, leadership, and passion for work.

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  1. Tanya Levy

    I will play with photo editing programs and see what imaginative effects tickle my muse’s heart.

  2. Ben Gringeri

    Two things: 1) I’m going to start a blog “By Look or By Book” and post for the first time next week. 2) I’m going to start learning how to record music.

  3. Ina Djuren

    I’m going to sketch – 30 minutes a day.

  4. drawingsarah

    Loved this concept of unnecessary creating! I didn’t even realize that’s what I’ve been doing since Jan 1 of this year. Every day I draw/paint/illustrate something, anything. While I love my day job (graphic designer) I was feeling really unfulfilled. It really resonated with me when you said something about only making work you’re paid for or based on clients expectations. That really nailed it! So, today, I’ll draw or paint anything I want. :)

  5. Nicole

    I’m going to draw everyday. First I want to start going through a sketchbook at least every two months till I can eventually get to my goal of filling up a sketchbook a month.

  6. Jennafer

    I will make my next journal from scratch – intuitively paint a cover and bind the folios into a book. And I will create space for myself in my yard.

  7. Will Scarvie

    I’m going to dedicate one hour per week to writing in my new blog, focused on how to heal a damaged self-image.

  8. Beverly Doig

    I was inspired by your podcast and ” saw the paper and brushes” in front of me while you were speaking! I will paint and write and do it just because!! Committing to an hour a week.

  9. M Tinnin Portwood

    I want to spend time learning how to effectively use Blender — a 3D modeling program. I’m willing to devote an hour a day to it. Love the podcasts!

  10. Kerrie

    I love the idea of exploring hunches. I am going to take an hour everyday to paint, sketch and/or photograph my hunches.

  11. Brian Parker

    Really appreciated this podcast, Todd. Over the past few days I’ve been itching to re-engage my creativity and had been thinking it would only be a waste of time. Just like you explained, I was thinking my time should always translate into cashflow.

    But now that we’ve cleared that up – and I’ve given myself permission to create unnecessarily, I’m going to block out four hours a week to pursue my own creativity. For me, that means unsolicited graphic design and identity work in my sketchbook.

    I can’t believe how I’d forgotten that good ideas come through wider exposure to the world, not a narrower and more intense focus.

    • Todd Henry

      Congrats, Brian! You’re the winner of a signed paperback of each of my first two books. Send contact info through and we’ll get them out to you.

      • Brian Parker

        That’s great news, Todd! Thank you!

        I’ve been an ardent follower of your podcast for about a year now. And I can honestly say that the advice you’ve shared has changed my life. I am looking forward to working through your books!

  12. Adrienne Fitgal

    I will journal in watercolor

  13. Panayiotis Karabetis

    I started a podcast called Movement Mornings that launched today. Your podcast has been the primary inspiration for this. Thanks, Todd!

  14. Sheri Maple

    I do quite a few necessities but necessary things. One is cooking. Making a new dish for myself that requires me to learn a new technique such as making a balsamic glaze for a duck breast. There’s something about creating and working with your hands that give me joy. Crocheting, knitting, jewelry making and sewing are part of my solitude of creating something new. It’s not necessary that make a new article of clothing as I can easily purchase them at the store, but goes back to making something with my hands. Writing is a daily practice for me. I also took the plunge and enrolled in computer programming course on Coursea.

  15. Laurel Holman

    I will write my morning pages every single day, first thing in the morning, and play in my art journal once a week on Sundays.

  16. Brandi Clark

    I will be making a work calendar using index cards and magazine papers to create something much more colorful and interesting.

  17. Jen Hersman

    I will write morning pages

  18. Jonathan Karwacki

    I am going to put the digital camera down and committee to shooting one roll of film a week, just for me

  19. chontzy

    I will write or sketch 30 minutes a day.

  20. Pete

    Todd, your podcasts have been a particularly rich source of valuable insights! Thanks! Meanwhile, I’ll be writing about the future as my unnecessary creating this week. I just finished watching Tomorrowland, and it inspired me to envision many things that the movie left out…

  21. Morgan Croney

    I am going to release an open source software project on Github / NPM.

  22. Aithene / Chris Wilson

    I’ve already started two different activities.

    First, I began the ‘daily sketch’ thing about a month ago. (Almost) every evening, my daughter and I listen to audio stories and spend between 30-60 minutes drawing whatever we feel like. Just for fun.

    Second, with school ending in a few weeks, I signed both of us up at the Oatley Academy for the OALive program, where we are working with a bunch of other people on thinking through and setting up personal art projects. The kinds of project where we’ve always said, “someday I’d like to…” The idea is that by the end of the summer, we’ll have the concept fleshed out, the direction mapped (critical for comics, stories, etc.) characters, or what-have-you, designed, and hopefully the story already started.

    Should be a fun summer. :)

    • Aithene / Chris Wilson

      As a side note, I was thinking about this sort of thing a while ago. As a professional artist of over 20 years, I kept finding myself at home without any ideas of what to draw.

      I began thinking about myself as a kid, and why it was that I always seemed to have an endless flow of ideas, and for me, it was because I was so engaged in characters: comic books, cartoons, books, games, movies, etc. And I would draw my favorite characters. As an adult, I drifted away from this idea of ‘fan art’, simply because it didn’t feel ‘professional’. Well, I’ve spent a lot of my free sketching time lately revisiting these things. I drew Vision after seeing the latest Avengers movie. I spent several nights drawing Baymax. I’ve drawn several Pokemon to the delight of my daughter (and others on Instagram).

      For me, this unnecessary task of drawing fan art is completely unprofitable, but lots of fun, and oddly fulfilling. And I’m going to repeat this, its fun. I’d been missing having fun with my drawing.

  23. Lynne d Johnson

    I knew I’d been feeling unfulfilled lately just teaching and consulting and couldn’t quite name it. I need to do some unnecessary creating. 3 things this week. 1. Work on plans for website/blog relaunch 2. Work on ideas for articles/book (basically just write) 3. Post all the slide decks I made in the last year to slideshare so I can share my ideas with others

  24. apiascik

    I’m going to begin a creative journal and spend at least 1-hour per week filling it up with musings, ramblings, sketches, reflections, and stuff. Thanks, Todd, for helping creatives out there remember that what we’re doing is a vocation, not just a means to pay the mortgage.

  25. Breezy

    I will spend an hour a week studying design in architecture, and spend additional time sketching out the ideas that follow.

  26. Jess S

    I’m going to combine this with something Jon Acuff’s “Do Summer” which is 15 min. per day of writing from Jun 8 to Sept. 8th (could also be creative work I imagine). I’ve got a pocket notebook I’m carrying around and will commit to 15 min per day just writing dialogue or bits and pieces of projects and will sketch if no words come to mind.

  27. Lemonee Melanie

    Just as a testimonial, this unnecessary creating activity I did a while ago led to where I’m at today: a full line of products and a full time business :) So YEAH, keep on creating just for fun, you never know where it’ll lead to!

  28. Kevin Paterson

    I’m going to either draw in my sketchbook, write short passages exploring an idea I’ve been thinking about, or make animations in After Effects. Whatever I feel like in the moment!

  29. Keith Stanley

    I will create for myself each day, things that further my creative passion and interest. The idea of unnecessary creating is a great tool to help develop skills while concentrating on process instead of productive outcome.

  30. Rita swinford

    I am going to take an afternoon and work with flowers and a lens and just play with light.

  31. Todd Henry

    These are all outstanding ideas, everyone. So great to see all of the unnecessary creating happening!

  32. David

    It was during a meeting with HR where I first encountered the concept discussed at the end of this podcast. “Your job cannot contain the sum total of who you are and what you want to make.” It is not your employer’s job to fulfill you in every way.

    The honesty and helpfulness of that HR review strengthened my resolve to be a self directed lifelong learner. Although the honesty hurt and the time, it was just the kick in the pants I needed as I had started to fall into that myopic pursuit of only what it takes to pay the bills. Now I’m learning, reading and creating more than ever and opening new doors of possibility.

    My unnecessary creating is in the field of 3D modeling and searching for applications where the design paradigm of additive manufacturing can bring real value. I’m an active woodworker and I’m really interested in working with woodworking tool makers.

  33. Giselle

    I’ll be exploring some ideas Ive been excited to try in Processing, and also begin experimenting with digital textile design.

  34. Carol

    I’m going to create an art journal to record quotes…feelings, emotions and experiment with paints, markers, mixed media.

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