A little bit about a little thing called a valve, and your creative life.


I once heard ‘Life moves forward like the valve on a  bicycle wheel. In deceptive lurches.’
Picture that valve for a second; Sometimes appearing to be going backwards even when the entire wheel is always moving forwards.
It’s a wonderfully vivid metaphor for life, progress, perception, reality.

And a good means to recalibrate the direction you’re going.
Be the valve for a second: Are you in a forward lurch phase, or are you doing that half revolution backwards heading into a forward phase? And more importantly, where’s the wheel taking you?

I think it’s critical this. For the reinvention of ourselves.
Is it every 7 years that we reinvent ourselves at a cellular level?
What’s our creative cycle?

I’ve always admired the ones that aren’t scared to stop and change direction. Whether it’s by way of a great vision for the passage of time, or just ‘trying new ways’, these are the real innovators. Those that take a broader view of the map they’re on, and aren’t scared to explore it. We see this in artists that forge multiple decades of creative excellence. Random pick: Damon Albarn. Picasso. Commercially speaking, Elon Musk. Richard Branson. Am I talking about the gravitational pull of entrepreneurs? That’s part of it, but we’re not all commercially oriented entrepreneurs. And that shouldn’t limit our creative entrepreneurship.

Paradoxically, a lot of creative people are in lock down. Acting more like hermits than explorers. Bunkering down rather than venturing out. Not sure why exactly. Stuck in the economy of creative industry perhaps, trying to be the most creative they can be within the job they have.

Whereas true creativity lies in risk, curiosity and exploration. That is the job.

So I say, have more than one job. Lead multiple lives – like in an earlier post I referenced Paul Smith saying how he’d used his commercial mass production to fund his more niche production – creatives should be slicing and dicing their time, with a x y axis of commercial savvy-ness and creative selfishness.

Sure, work for the man. Keep the lights on. Pay your foxtel. But don’t spend yourself entirely on one job. Not contractually. Not spiritually. Save something for that other important employer. Yourself. Save something to makes that valve lurch forward in the direction you want to go.



2 thoughts on “A little bit about a little thing called a valve, and your creative life.

  1. Very cool post Mr. Watt.
    I’m finding myself in this process right now. Trying to get into the creative side of an agency. I’ve been reflecting more on, not which way my valve is going but whats moving it in general. Tridionally to use the example above, it’s gears. Always griding. But now I feel as though to make a differnce and set yourself apart you dont just need a change in direction of your vavle, but a whole new drive for the system carying it. Creating cool shit just isnt enough anymore.

    Thanks for the blog it really helps.

    A wannabe junior.


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