Garr Reynolds shares how kids impact the creative process

Nancy Duarte

Written by

Nancy Duarte

I owe Garr Reynolds big time. Not only because he has spent years working on the cause I’m most passionate about—empowering people to create better presentations—but also because he has inspired me personally, starting with encouraging me to write my first book, Slide:ology.

Garr lives in Japan full time, but every once in awhile he visits California, and he’s kind enough to stop by my shop. Last time he visited, I took the chance to interview him about his work, his recent transition into fatherhood, and how the heck he’s finding balance between the two.

Watch the interview, or read some highlights of our chat below.

The creative process requires uninterrupted time.
Like most things, uninterrupted time is something you can’t fully appreciate until you no longer have it. As a new father of two young kids, Garr has come to fully appreciate uninterrupted time, and realized its importance in the creative process. Garr references a brilliant 10-minute talk by John Cleese who speaks eloquently about the importance of setting boundaries of space and time, and giving yourself permission to get lost in your work.

Perfection isn’t possible, but “real artists ship.”
No matter how much time you have—interrupted or not—it’s impossible to achieve perfection. But you’ve still gotta get the job done. As Steve Jobs said, “Real artists ship.” The process of creating is often chaotic and messy, and even when you’ve created something great, you may never feel like it’s perfect. But you can’t let the pursuit of perfection stop you from being productive.

Play isn’t the opposite of work.
Garr shares that in Japan, where he lives and works, play tends to be seen as the opposite of work. Garr’s foray into fatherhood, among other things, has taught him that play is not only helpful, it’s necessary. As many of us know, creative thoughts tend to happen when you’re not working. In Garr’s case, his best thoughts come when he’s running. For me, it’s hiking. For you it could be something different altogether. No matter what play means for you, remember that it’s a necessary part of the creative process.

It’s always a pleasure to chat with Garr. I hope you get the same inspiration I did from our conversation.

Huge thanks to Garr for this interview, and for everything!