People have their own creative processes.
A designer might stare into space for an indefinite amount of time before grabbing random pieces for a mood board. A musician might jam for an hour and come up with a complete track, giving the raw material to someone else for mastering afterwards. If your creative project is taking too long to take shape, or you’re stuck in that murky middle where no end is in sight, perhaps it’s time to look under the bonnet and make a few tweaks to move the process along!
1. AT THE START
Something’s missing in the world, and we wanna do something about it.
Hurdle: Procrastination and self-doubt
Try upsizing the Why.
Think about how it can help or delight a great number of other people. When we feel what we’re doing will make a difference, we imagine better, and sometimes that inspires us into action!
try starting small.
Make a two-week start by date (or two hours, whichever is appropriate). For an extra boost, make yourself accountable and tell someone so they can check up on you when the time comes.
2. IN THE MIDDLE
It’s time to explore. Let the problem or ideas float around while you look for the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Doubt (again!) and all of the sudden, you and Google search are best buddies
Try trusting your capacity to connect dots.
At this point, the ‘creation’ is ever-changing, so fix a date when you’ll ban yourself from ‘more research’ on Google, Pinterest, YouTube and the like.
Try affirmations like ‘I got this’!
Remind yourself that what you need is probably already in you. We take in information all the time, so the back of our minds is a busy factory full of potential insights. They just need to be invited to come front and centre.
IN THE MIDDLE – PART DEUX
This is where there’s some action – or at least more than before! Things are being put into place, trialled and modified. There may still be some missing pieces but hey, at least there’s a short list!
Disappointment and opposition (especially from others if there’s been one too many dead ends).
Try not to edit or trash anything.
You’re only half-way, so the idea could still do with some fleshing out. Edison famously said about his electric light bulb invention, ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’
Try getting people together to start criticising!
Do it constructively – in a way that every criticism is sandwiched between what’s good about the work and what needs improving. Also, don’t take the comments personally. The feedback is for the creation, not the creator(s).
3. THE REVEAL
Almost. You can finally step back now and marvel at your work. Before launching it onto the big world, do some final checks.
It’s bad. Like, very bad…
Try putting it in the freezer for at least 24 hours or a few days.
Then come back to see with fresh eyes, ears and brain power. Perhaps all it takes is a bit of spit and polish.
Try putting it out there anyway.
Things don’t always work out. Nonetheless, you’ve created something that wasn’t there before, take notes, smile and keep going!