“Insecure” creator Issa Rae explains how one meeting can kill a whole day’s creativity

This panel was fun and all, but it probably cost her a day of writing.
This panel was fun and all, but it probably cost her a day of writing.
Image: Invision for American Express/AP Images/Matt Sayles
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It’s a widely acknowledged truth that meetings are the worst—not only because of time wasted during the meeting itself, but also for what they do to the rest of one’s workday.

“If I have anything scheduled during the day, I will come up with an excuse, like ‘Oh, I can’t be creative because I have a meeting at two,'” said Issa Rae, the creator and star of HBO’s Insecure. “And then I’m going to think about the meeting all day. And I have to, like, get dressed and figure out what I’m wearing [to the meeting].'”

Addressing a panel about personal management at an American Express Success Makers Workshop on Thursday (July 27), Rae said she used to take every meeting that was suggested to her—a common tactic for a creative person hustling to get her ideas produced. But she has since pulled in the reigns. Because, otherwise, frankly no creative work would get done.

“It’s so easy for writers and creators to procrastinate,” she said. “So I don’t want any excuses to be able to do that.”

She still has to take some meetings of course, but now she confines them to two days of the week.

“And I have at least one or two days off to just have me-time,” she said. “I absolutely value my time off, just to be able to be creative. There are just those moments—you live! The more you live, the more creative you’re able to be. The more out there you are, the more ideas you’re able to have. And so I definitely don’t take that for granted.”