This graphic recently appeared in my Facebook news feed, and it struck a chord with me. Mainly because I’ve uttered every one of those excuses for not getting on with my creative projects. How about you? Do any of them sound familiar to you?
It’s so easy to find or make excuses when we really need to just get on with it. So let’s take a closer look and break down some of list above.
If it’s important enough, you’ll make time for it
I guess the first question to ask here is – How important is the creative project to you? If it’s not important, you may need to rethink it. If it is important, allocate time in your diary to start today or tonight – whenever you can make spare time. Think you have no spare time? How much TV do you watch? How much time do you spend watching funny cat videos on the internet?
My aim is stop watching trashy TV. We’re about to enter TV’s off season, so it’s a great time for me to switch off and do some writing – and to cut back on the cat videos!
If you don’t know where to start, start anywhere
How many times have you said “I’m going to …. “ and then done nothing? Too many times? Yes, me too.
So, once you’ve made the time because it’s important to you, just get started. Remember, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish that counts.
When I want to start writing something and I’m just looking at a blank screen or piece of paper, I find it helpful to sometimes to a flow of consciousness, where I just write down anything and everything which comes to mind in relation to the topic. Some of the ideas will be discarded, but it’s a good way to get something down on paper – and GET STARTED. I also find mind mapping to be a great technique to help with getting ideas down on paper.
Once I have some ideas, I can then form an outline, which leads to actually getting some solid work done.
I’ve also found a good prompt for getting started is to say my goal out loud. Telling someone what I plan to do puts a little pressure on me to actually do it.
My aim is to outline more projects. Just start – start with something, start with anything, just get something down on paper and the project is in motion… then continue!
If you feel stuck, ask someone to help you out
Do you really feel stuck – or are you just being lazy? Who inspires you? Who can help you?
Is there a class you can take, a course you can participate in or a book you can read to get your creativity flowing? Do you have someone who can be your champion or your mentor?
My aim is to ask for help when I need it. I have to admit that I don’t often ask for help. Sometimes though, I’ll talk to a friend or fellow writer, just to share my frustrations and often they will inspire me to start something new or keep doing with a project which may have stalled.
If you’re tired, take a timed break
Yup, being tired is a definite creativity killer. Forget the caffeine. When I’m really tired, I’ve found the best thing to do is actually go and lay down. I am a big fan of the power nap – just 10-15 minutes rest often helps me rejuvenate and stops me wasting the entire afternoon because I don’t have enough energy to get going.
The timer is important here too. It would be very easy to take a nap for several hours, but that won’t get any creativity happening, will it? I usually set my alarm to make sure I wake up, as I find longer naps make me sleepy for the rest of the day and often keep me awake that night!
My aim is to recognise when I’m legitimately tired and take a power nap.
If you don’t know how to do it, try doing what you can
It’s impossible to know how to do everything. There are many things we must learn in order to master any creative activity, and these things are most often learned over time.
My aim is to not let what I don’t know stop me from starting a new project. At least if I get started, then I can learn more along the way in a step-by-step fashion.
If you believe that you can do it, you will
Ah yes, the old self-belief acorn! It’s so true though. Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”.
Believing that you are capable of completing the task at hand is important. If you don’t think you can do it, you’re already talking yourself out of it. Review the points above and believe that you can! Do you believe that you can do it?
My aim is to have faith in my own creative abilities.
So, now you’ve heard my strategies to overcome my excuses, what are yours? What can you commit to doing which will help you become more productively creative? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT
Graphic used with permission of Creative Something