A No Bullshit Guide to Becoming a Prolific Creator

I've been writing 1000 words a day for almost 10 years. I've recorded more than 700 interviews. I've written 4 books. I use the internet to make things.

All this has led to unexpected surprises like a book deal with a publisher; a career that was never my goal; and a life that hasn't gone according to plan. But that's not why I do it.

I do it because it's therapeutic. It's cathartic. It's a release of all my baggage and bullshit.

Sometimes it's verbal vomit. Occasionally, I write something worth reading or create something worth consuming.

I have a resume of failures that's more like a rap sheet.

I've screwed up everything from running a business to romantic relationships.

But there's one thing I can think of that made up for my deficiencies as a human and an artist. I'm prolific.

There's a scene in the movie With Honors where Joe Pesci finds Brendan Fraser's senior thesis and tells him, "This stuff is really coming out the wrong end." You might feel like that when you create. I do most days. That's the price of admission for being prolific.

There's nothing that will do more for your art than becoming prolific. You're aiming for base hits instead of home runs. Once in a while you might launch a home run into the nosebleed seats. But it's hard to be prolific when that's your focus.

Being prolific isn't about Oscar nominations, Grammy awards, Pulitzers or best-sellers. It isn't about accolades, accomplishments, attention from strangers on the internet, or vanity metrics.

It's about the work.

It's about focusing on the process instead of the prize.

It's choosing your soul over your ego.

It's about saying what you need to say.

It's about discipline, habits, consistency, and commitment.

It's about mastery, deliberate practice, and deep work.

It's about progress instead of perfection.

It's about building a body of work.

It's about making good art and leaving the world a bit different for you having been here.

The beauty of being prolific is that it's in your control. Anybody can be prolific regardless of their status, income, race, or religion. If you have a body, you have the ability to be prolific.

Artists who are prolific stand the test of time.

  • Seth Godin has been blogging every day for more than a decade.
  • AR Rahman has composed so much music that it would be difficult to go through it all.
  • Bob Dylan was prolific. He has written 100s of songs. But even if you're not a fan, you know one of them.
  • Ryan Holiday has just published a new book. But he's already started working on the next one.

This is a short book about a simple idea that can change your life, and the trajectory of your career in the arts. It's a book about two types of people: those who are prolific and those who are not.

It's about people who ship and why you should become one.

You don't have to spend any money, go to a workshop, or hire a coach. You don't need to be an artistic genius, protege, or genetically predisposed for artistic brilliance. You don't even need any talent.

You don't need any additional resources, just resourcefulness and consistent effort. The inevitable byproduct of those two things is that you'll be prolific. Along the way, you might even become more talented.

The more prolific you are, the more seeds you plant, and the more message you put in bottles. The more likely your seeds will bear fruit and the more likely your message will reach its intended recipient. Make more art and you'll make better art.

That path of least resistance is to be an anonymous critic. That path of most reward is to become a prolific creator. I hope the ideas in this book inspire you to become  one. I hope they encourage you to make more art.

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