Category: Work

Photo by justinjagged

The Creative Process is full of reasons to quit

When I sit down to work on new creative projects, I often hear this question before I even start. How much time do you spend thinking about why you shouldn’t start creating something new instead of just doing it?

How many statements of disqualification do you listen to everyday?

Do you ever hear questions in your head like these?

The truth is I hear this list a lot.

Sometimes I even yield to its taunting voice. I want to share with you the struggle that I face to make it make it to the finish line. I’m writing this post for myself as much as for you. I need the help in silencing my lizard brain that wants me to stop risking and play it safe.

The “What If’s” that try to stop me from doing great work

  • What if my next projects, my next presentation, my new curriculum, my new software app stinks?
  • What if no one uses it?
  • What if no one likes it?
  • What if no one leaves a comment on my next blog post?
  • What if I don’t finish the Marathon I am training for?
  • What if my manifesto doesn’t get read?
  • What if no one buys my new product idea?
  • What if your book manuscript doesn’t get published?
  • What if no one listens to my new podcast?

I waste time listening instead of doing

How much time do we spend churning through these questions instead of just doing the work?

I am going to wager a guess.

Some days, I spend almost 75% of my time
entertaining these whispers of doubt instead of
courageously doing the work regardless of outcomes.

How many incomplete projects or ideas do you have in your cue?

Steven Pressfield describes these enemies of the creative process in his book, The War of Art. He names the tension, calls out the culprits, exposes our fears and throws a lifeline to the reader to stop listening and start doing great work.

I have a series of projects that I have been loosing the war to what Steven calls “The Resistance”.  Watch his video here on how to overcome Resistance.

Take an Inventory

  1. Would you be willing to take an inventory of the number of projects, ideas, initiatives
    that you have started in the last six months, but not completed?
  2. Now take a similar inventory of the number of projects that you have completed?
  3. How many of the completed projects, ideas, products, inventions, books, stories, speeches, stood up against the above list of fears?

Do The Work Anyway

Once you answer the questions above with the answer I am going to do it anyway.

Then you are free to do the work you love regardless of people’s responses. Jeff Goins published a great ebook that speaks to this kind of thinking, Your Are a Writer, so start acting like one.

Instead of doubting, I want to act like the person I want to become.

  • You are a writer.
  • You are a designer.
  • You are an author.
  • You fill in the blank. “I am a…….”

What will you do today that yesterday you dismissed because you thought
no one will like what you create?

You might also enjoy the podcast interview with Jeff Goins.  Listen here.  

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  • Bryce Vietz

    This is 2 years old but relevant to me now. I graduated with a bachelors degree in graphic design, however, my specialty is more illustration but I can cover both bases.
    My dilemma is that the corporate world doesn’t think I’m worth a damn for internships or jobs. And I’m a good illustrator, but my work has a psychedelic feel to it. So I guess the ‘mainstream’ crowd doesn’t think that would resonate with an audience. Who are these people to be authoritative about what works and what doesn’t. It’s really irritating. Even if nobody likes it, I wish somebody could at least look at my work and tell me why it doesn’t work.

    • http://www.aaronmchugh.com Aaron McHugh

      Bryce-what an interesting space you are in. I’m curious how this will work out for you over the coming weeks-months-years. My first attempt to get a job was simply terrible or at least that was what I thought at the time. I turned in application after application and I felt like a ghost. No one- I mean NO ONE returned my calls or even gave me an interview. It was simply weird.

      What happened was I found that I was simply trying to go down the wrong path (in my case). 20 years later I can say that the rear view mirror of my life provides a lot more clarity than does the front windshield as I am driving forward. Keep engaging in your craft. Keep practicing. Keep up the risking being seen and known through your art. And gift everyone else with the permission and grace to never care about what you’re making. The irony is once I decided I’d simply do what I love because I love it….it took a lot of pressure of other people and I actually began enjoying it more. Keep going bro.

      Hope these help encourage you.
      A couple of other blogs to check out on my site by title:

    • annamarie

      I understand

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Posted on: 09 / 04 / 2012