# When you start in one direction but end up taking a completely different tack. The post I'm working on is a perfect illustration of its own thesis.

The battle between productive and creative

Creative conflict is a common theme for me.

Although I am happy with my posting workflow I am always on the lookout for ways to be more creative, more productive, but what does that even mean?

I'm an addict.

I download new apps all the time - just in case. It's rare they stick around as I don't really need them - Drafts and Ulysses are the workhorses that get things done.

That's not to say there isn't room for improvement, you just don't know how until you stumble across it.

Fragmented efforts

The desire to come up with original, thought provoking stuff, having something to say, is pitted against the pull of always producing more - churning out the words and keeping the wheels turning.

Not always for publishing but just to keep the gears greased.

I feel trapped by productive but scared by the need to be creative, each brings its own pressures.

It irks me that I don't have a daily writing habit, one where I use a particular tool or process to "create" (and I use the term loosely in this context) regular works but I generally write every day In one form or another.

I split my efforts between multiple locations: Drafts, Ulysses, sometimes pen and paper and have now installed the Prompts app. Where I write largely depends on what I'm doing and at what stage of completion that happens to be.

I imagine this disrupts me from "getting into flow" but if I'm already working on something I doubt the value of starting another session elsewhere.

Part of me thinks it shouldn't matter where I write, only that I do, whereas another part thinks I should be solely focusing on one location (perhaps two if we differentiate between planning and finalising posts.)

Yet another conflict.

I have been switching to pen and paper for free writing when I have nothing else on the go.

Prompts comes in at a similar point; it is intended as a daily tool offering prompts to get you started (hence the name) and then monitors your daily writing regimen.

But here I have an issue.

Can we truly free write on a mobile device when we are so intimately connected to the input? We almost can't help but edit ourselves while we type unlike with a pen where mistakes must remain where they were made.


Create or produce

The two words are synonymous but, in this context, far from the same thing.

They are used interchangeably but it is like the difference between knowing and unsurety, instinct and reasoning.

Being productive is just getting shit done, cranking it out over and over. Productive is the implementation of process.

Being creative, however, is more playful; it is the search for something new, something different.

Creative allows your mind to frolic and wander, exploring different paths and ideas. Creative doesn't care if you make mistakes, it revels in them. Mistakes guide us and can open new avenues.

Mistakes can be perfect.

Each in their place

There has to be a balancing act between creative and productive. The two circle each other, seeking the opportunity to strike, and we bounce between them - one inspiring or triggering the other.

Productivity leads to creativity which, in turn, leads us back to productivity.

Productivity is the daily free writing session, cranking out a set word count to meet a target, but what it unleashes - now that's the interesting part.

It opens the way for the creative side of ourselves, releasing those original thoughts and ideas trapped within, the relevations we are otherwise blinded to.

Once creativity starts to flow, and we know what we want to say, we again become productive but this time with a purpose.

Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog