Relfections on “Attending The Way”

I dream, from time to time, of living in a lighthouse. Far away from everyone and everything, I spend my days creating. (And since I’m dreaming, I’m also independently wealthy).

I tend to the garden and stare at the waves pummeling a rocky shore.

As a creative entrepreneur, I don’t create a product that sits on a shelf.

Instead, I put a little bit of myself into every project. “Business isn’t personal” is a lie I’ve tried to convince myself of many a time.

Blair (quoting Confucius) calls it “attending the way” his blog post.

Elizabeth Gilbert calls it “Big Magic” and claims ideas have a consciousness and a will, that they are disembodied life forms.

Stephen Pressfield calls it listening to “the muse”.

Mark Nepo calls this creative process “drinking from The River of Light”

It’s tempting as you look at your mortgage, your car, your belongings, to gleefully hop on that hedonic treadmill, chasing more for the sake of more. Beware. Center yourself, and remember why you got into this work. Remember how lucky you were to be born when and where you were born.

Somewhere along the way, efficiencies seduce you. Better systems, ways of generating ideas, delivery methods, streamlined communication with clients, better profitability. All of these things, are of course, good.

Right?

If you’ve ever been to an artists studio, you’ll likely see hundreds of canvases that will never be shown. In a film studio, hours of footage on the cutting room floor. Creativity, almost by definition, is a wasteful act.

An economically valuable agency, is akin to an efficient machine. Therefore, the term “creative agency” is somewhat oxymoronic. I’m then left with the question — how should those two tango?

David C. Baker asks of Blair, in their episode of 2Bobs, what the listeners takeaway should be. Blair encourages listeners or readers to come up with their own.

Mine?

If I am to do my best work, it can’t be reduced to “deliverables”. Nor can it be inspired iterations into eternity. There exists a space between creativity and business obligations — a liminal space — where our best work gets done, if we dare inhabit it.

Taylor Rubart

Taylor Rubart

Principal @ Flannel Media

Not only does he like to write about himself in the third person, Taylor Rubart has been running Flannel Media since 2017 helping clients win by combining great story with smart strategy.