There’s two kinds of creatives in this world: habit keepers and flow chasers.
Habit keepers develop habits that let them get their work done methodically, like writing 1,000 words every day. They work to their goal, then top, sticking to that habit no matter what, come hell or high water or even a family vacation.
Flow chasers work furiously through an entire night if they hit a creative flow. And when the flow is gone, they may not touch the project again for days, even weeks, while they wait for inspiration to strike again.
Our natural tendencies tend to put us in one camp or the other. I’m a habit keeper—I need that daily touch on my work to stay connected to it. If I don’t see some kind of slow but steady progress, I lose faith that I can ever bring it to conclusion.
There’s really nothing wrong with either of these approaches. Not inherently. Each has its strengths and each its weaknesses. But habit keepers and flow chasers can learn some important lessons from each other about maximizing our creativity.
Habit keepers can learn to be open to inspiration outside of our assigned time for creative work. If you feel it coming, it’s okay to chase it. It’s also okay to let your work ebb and flow sometimes.
And flow chasers can learn how to stay disciplined between moments of flow, and how to push through the dry spells—showing up consistently teachers your muse to show up, too.
The greatest-greats among creative masters across history are people who have learned both how to harness discipline like the habit keeper and to let inspiration harness them like the flower chaser.
Which are you, a habit keeper or a flow chaser? What are your creative work tendencies?