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How to be more prolific

Jay Clouse
Jay Clouse
2 min read

You may have heard this quote about creatives:

"Painters love to paint. Writers love having written."

The joke is that writing is such a difficult, painful process that writers themselves don't even enjoy the act of writing itself.

Whether it's writing, recording video, editing podcasts, etc...I've noticed that there is almost always some level of psychological hurdle to getting started.

There is some level of friction.

Friction is the enemy of momentum. Actually, there's probably some actual science in that...but I never took a physics class, so I can't say for sure.

But when you WANT to create things, and you find yourself repeatedly not doing that, you're probably running into some kind of friction.

And that friction doesn't even need to be that intense to stop you in your tracks...our brains already LOVE finding ways to procrastinate or negotiate out of doing things.

So the number one way to increase your output and become more prolific is to identify and remove sources of friction.

For a long time, I was using a Canon m50 for my DSLR camera. It was the original Canon m50 model, and without getting too into the weeds, it was not ideal for video calls or even recording video. It doesn't allow for clean HDMI output, it required me to use manual focus, and the lens wasn't great either.

My video quality looked like this:

Not too bad.

But the issue was the friction that came with recording. I had to get the manual focus right, I had to get the lighting right, but I constantly had this shadow from my overhead lights...so not only was there friction in the camera, but in the lighting, and my own expectations of quality.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have seen that I made some significant upgrades to my little video studio this month.

I knew I wanted to focus on getting better lighting...but then I had this realization that the actual friction was coming from my camera. I hated the process of setting it up, I hated the finished result, and the whole thing just made me not even want to try.

So I decided to invest in really good equipment. A Sony A7C, a 35mm f1.4 lens, an out-of-frame shotgun microphone, and great lighting equipment too.

Here's the end result:

Even better than the video quality itself, I removed so much friction.

I went so far as to utilize some smart plugs so that I can say, "Alexa, turn on studio" and she turns on my lighting for me!

Now when I want to record something for the Creative Companion Club or anything else, I can record a super high-quality video that meets my internal standards within moments of wanting to.

You can create the same environment for your creative work. If you want to do more video, set up the space to be camera ready. If you want to record a podcast, mount your microphone to your desk so it's ready to go. If you're writing, turn off your wifi and write in a Word doc instead.

Lower friction leads to higher output.

So whatever you're trying to do more of but can't quite seem to follow through...identify the source of friction.

What is getting in the way? What are you allowing yourself to use as an excuse? And how can you eliminate that?

When friction goes away, the process becomes more fun and playful, and the final product will feel better too.

Process & Systems

Jay Clouse Twitter

Writer, podcaster, and community-builder helping people become professional creators. I write this blog and host Creative Elements, a narrative-interview podcast talking with today's top creators.

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