Creativity vs. Productivity – which comes first?

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Which comes first, creativity or productivity? As a musician and performing artist, I’m willing to bet the creator in you was the driving force that led you to become a (productive) performing artist.

OK, let’s back up a bit. First let me break open the Webster’s Dictionary and define these two terms so we can be on the same page.

Creativity (noun): The use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.

Productivity (noun): A measure relating a quantity or quality of output to the inputs required to produce it.

With these definitions in mind, I’d like to make a few observations and suggestions.

Observation #1: You do the work you do because you are a creator and are creative.

Observation #2: There are a lot of distractions within the performing arts business that keep you from your creativity.

Observation #3: When you focus on productivity rather than creativity, your art and your business suffers because your whole reason for doing the business, expressing and sharing your creativity, loses its momentum and drive. Productivity metrics such as how many CDs you have sold, how many gigs are booked, how many Facebook fans you have, or how many tweets you’ve tweeted can leave you feeling out of sorts and divorced from your artistic self.

Suggestion #1: Refocus on creativity. Let your creative side become a momentum driver for your business. How? Start with creativity each day. Put your art first. Creating your art must take priority in the service of selling your art.

Suggestion #2: Allow the creative in you to drive your priorities and help set your goals. Go for quality rather than quantity. Quality art demands quality venues, appreciative fans, and respectable fees.

Suggestion #3: Set your creative bar high. The more attention you put to becoming the best creator of your art you can be, the more your art will be valued and in demand. There is a lot of competition out there and the cream will rise to the top, sell more CDs, and get better gigs for higher fees.

Conclusion: When you focus on creativity as an artist, it reaffirms who you are and why you get up each day. When you put your art first, your enthusiasm to sell your art will flow more easily, even more creatively. If you are excited about your latest song or tune or piece of writing, you will be more motivated to get it in front of the right audience. When you wake up each day, hungry to create or learn to be a better creator, then your motivation to get better gigs to share your latest creation will drive your business forward.

Let your creativity be your driving factor. Your art deserves it.

Jeri Goldstein (AKA Dr. Gig) is president and founder of Performingbiz. Formerly an agent and manager, Jeri is a dedicated author and music business consultant providing resources, instruction, and consulting services to music artists to help them create a successful touring career. Her award-winning book, How To Be Your Own Booking Agent, THE Musician’s & Performing Artist’s Guide To Successful Touring, is used by performers worldwide and by music business courses in the USA and Canada.

This post was excerpted from Jeri’s second book, The Tiny Guide To Huge Success 100 Biz Boosting Hot Tips to Ignite Your Performing Career. Echoes readers get a special $5 discount off the book by using the discount code WJ2JJ53Q in the space provided on the order form. Get your copy today!


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