One of the toughest things to overcome is the idea that play is necessarily separate from work. From this unfortunate fallacy, we tend to derive the idea that work is necessarily hard and play is necessarily easy.
Where does that leave those of us who are creative for a living?
Some look at creative workers, for instance, and think that they must have it incredibly easy, because what they do looks like “play” to many. That’s the life, they think. Easy money.
Creative workers themselves can fall prey to this kind of thinking, when they fail to price their work — or even value their work — at the level it deserves. Because they sense that there is a strong element of play in their work, they find it harder to classify their products as “work” at all. This isn’t real work, they think. It can’t be worth that much money.
As I mentioned in a recent post on this topic, the bias against classifying creative work as “true” work goes deep. But the most successful among us realize that there is no real split between work and play. They are only separate when we agree to pretend that they are. We are complicit in this pretense all the time. And it hurts all of us.
I’m planning on starting a series of profiles of creative workers who successfully integrate work and play, so that we can see this magic trick in action. If you’d like to suggest someone who you think exemplifies this idea, please let me know. I’m officially taking requests.
Some parting food for thought, from the always thought-provoking Copyblogger:
Allowing your mind to be at play is perhaps the most effective way to stimulate creative thinking, and yet many people disassociate play from work. These days, the people who can come up with great ideas and solutions are the most economically rewarded, while worker bees are often employed for the benefit of the creative thinkers.
You’ve heard the expression “work hard and play hard.” All you have to realize is that they’re the same thing to a creative thinker.