Monday, July 17, 2017

Van Gogh and timesheets.

Van Gogh painted these blossoms, and 11 other paintings in May, 1890.
The last of his 77 paintings, one of 24 he painted in July, 1890.

The next time you are facing impossible deadlines, the next time it seems that work is piling up faster than a snow in a blizzard, the next time you say to yourself, "how am I going to get all this done?", think of Vincent Van Gogh.

In the last ten weeks of his life (before he shot himself in the chest and died two days later) Van Gogh painted 77 paintings. 

77 paintings in 70 days. You can see the complete list here.

I'm not suggesting for a moment that we all go out in a burst of hypomanic energy, but that if you could somehow remove the crushing meetings, the endless discussions, the hairsplitting overthink of so much of agency life, perhaps our creativity could be more prodigious.

In other words, if we removed the impediments, we could do more--we could be both more productive and more creative.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Maybe the bureaucracy of agency life is pertinent and necessary. And Van Gogh's output has no lesson for us.

But as someone who has four novels (or one--depending on how I'll handle it) and one non-fiction book hanging over my head, it's something I will think about.

77 paintings in 70 days.

Put that on your timesheet and smoke it.

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