Here’s how it works:
1) You flail around for a time, not knowing what you’re doing, wondering if you’ll ever figure it out.
2) The haze lifts, it all miraculously starts to become clear, and you begin to lock in on a direction.
3) Now that you have a clear direction, not only do ideas start to pop like dried out corn kernels in hot oil, but your desire to get down the path already blooms into a breathless sense of urgency. (Insomnia optional, but frequently included.)
Let me interrupt for a moment here to state that it works this way no matter what you’re creating: a new piece of art, a blog post, a new song, a direction for your business, a Halloween party…
Sometimes the intervals between 1, 2 and 3 above are excruciatingly long, sometimes they’re so short you barely notice them. But they’re always there.
And here’s what almost always comes next:
The Irresistible Draw of the Non-Urgent
Need to get a client project done?
Suddenly the kitty fluffs that have been multiplying on the rug for weeks must be vacuumed now.
Blog post overdue?
Suddenly your toenails, which have been neglected for months, require a pedicure right this minute.
Have a website to overhaul and a big, new thing to create?
Suddenly the rosemary bush out back, the one that’s been threatening to devour the entire rest of the yard for the past
6 9 12 months must be clipped immediately!
(That last one? Um, yeah, that was me today.)
But wait, there’s more.
Life is complicated, and those urgent, important, cannot-wait-to-get-them-done projects have a way of layering themselves.
Take the big ones on my plate this week, both Action Studio-inspired:
- Now that I have a clear message and direction for my business, I’m rarin’ to go on the new (briefly aforementioned) thingy I’m brewing up to get you off your good intentions and actually doing your creative thing.
- And at the same time, now that I have a clear message and direction for my business, I was finally rarin’ to overhaul my website (also briefly aforementioned) to better reflect who I am and what I do.
If you’ve been here before, you may notice that I’ve made a tad bit of progress on the second bullet item above. As in a complete overhaul. (And yes, I’d love to hear what you think!)
Which effectively sucked all of my time and energy away from the first bullet item above.
And yet, I can’t really file this under the Irresistible Draw of the Non-Urgent, because getting my website clearer was actually a more urgent need than getting the new thingy done. Choosing to spend time on Urgent Project A over Urgent Project B is simply part of what I call Life and Business Triage.
Perhaps now that the website is, if not done (a website being always a work in progress), at least in a state of acceptable for now, perhaps now I can return my attention – finally – to the new thingy.
But let’s first return to our ordered list.
Where were we? Oh, yes:
4) The Irresistible Draw of the Non-Urgent tugs at the hem of your clothes. (You may get a lot of cleaning or purging or other things you normally avoid done during this time, which is a lovely silver lining.)
5) You finally get to work, and hit:
The Wall of It-Will-Never-Be-Good-Enough
And here’s where you get to work on your stuff, as they say.
Hello Perfectionism, my old friend.
Thankfully, I’m getting better at sitting Perfectionism down with a cup of coffee and leaving it there while I get to work.
Affirmations help. In a guest-star matinee appearance for Action Studio last Wednesday, Kelly Kingman reminded us that perfect is the enemy of done. And as an ex-boyfriend of mine liked to say, better is better.
6) Armed with these weapons against Perfectionism, you let go of perfect, get back to work (interspersed with repeated visits to #4 above) and let yourself get to done.
And maybe (in the case, say, of a website)…
7) You keep tweaking to make it better.
Rinse, lather, repeat.
Fear and Resistance and Stuckness, Oh My!
Perfectionism and the Irresistible Draw of the Non-Urgent are just a couple of the many demons that get in the way. The new thingy I’m brewing up is like chain mail to help you past them – it maybe won’t kill them, but it will give you the confidence to get out of your cave and walk past them.
Or maybe a better metaphor (at least for we fair-weather Californians) is an umbrella or rain slicker. You actually doing your creative thing is like taking a walk in the rain. Without the proper gear, it’s just not gonna happen (at least in my world). But with warm clothes, a waterproof layer and a sturdy, wind-proof umbrella, a walk in the rain can be great fun!
You doing your creative thing, once you get going, is way more than great fun. It’s breathing. It’s love.
But you’ve gotta actually do it to get that.
I want this thingy I’m brewing up to help. (Hell, I’m going to use it to help me! That’s where all the daily art I make and the blog posts I write spring from – my desire to inspire myself!) So if you haven’t already let me know in a comment or email what gets in your way, and where you could use a boost, let me know!
Consider the thingy custom-tailored to your special requirements.
And in the meantime, comments on the new site are welcome too!