I once heard a marketing director say that no commercially creative effort is ever finished, it is merely abandoned. Her statement contains a dollop of truth. Even if an idea is as strong as Samson on Rogaine®, the path to perfect execution always collides with the clock. When the deadline arrives, the project is finished. Period.
Creative people love time. The more the better, for it allows them to put more of themselves into their work. The more closely a created thing resembles its creator, goes the thinking, the better it will be. We, as reason-gifted creatures ourselves, can see this. People are creative beings as much as we are created beings. We synthesize our understanding of existence and express it in words, images, music and other abstractions. We experience the creative process as inspired and powered by an innate energy. We have the impulse from birth, but it stretches infinitely backward and forward. In this metaphysical realm, clocks are irrelevant. A day is as eons, and vice versa.
But, in the hard land of commerce, creative magnification reaches limits defined by dollars. And dollars invariably equate to time. So, as the clock ticks, the creative person labors to meet the deadline and respect the budget. True to himself and the reason for his existence, he brings as much of his heart as he can—hoping all the while, perhaps, to reflect a smidgen of beauty amid a sea of competing noises.
Since commerce rarely allows the artistic freedom for which every creative soul yearns, other outlets come by necessity. On weekends, the SEO maven crafts jewelry. The massage therapist paints with watercolors. The copywriter composes anthems. The salesman carves mahogany figurines.
Just as our very existence reflects the work of the “One,” creative people must continually pursue a magnum opus, whether consciously or subconsciously. As we build the concepts that fuel money-machines for commerce, glimmers of genius sometimes appear. These moments are oases, and they remind us why we chose a creative career in the first place. Simply put, we had to.