The Joy of Getting Started

Without innovation, nothing can be improved.

Without innovation, nothing can be improved.

In my last blog I talked about perfectionism. I haven't blogged for a few weeks so that you could take time to think and meditate on your view of what it means to be perfect. I hope you've resolved to put perfection behind you and grasped the spark of creativity and stepped out with new confidence and enthusiasm to work toward your goal.

For me, the beginning of a project is the exciting part. An idea sparks out of the dark void of nothingness, dancing behind my eyes tantalising me and staying there until I accept or reject it. The spark teases me and dares me to take hold of it and make it mine.

'That happens to me, too," I hear you say. Great!

But you have doubts swirling in your head that the project is too large and that you'll never be able to finish it. Yes, a project worth doing is big and the task can be overwhelming. However, if you break it down into stages and work on it one stage at a time, the pieces will begin to come together to make the whole. A creative work can't be completed overnight. The idea needs time to be in your conscience, baking away until it is ready to be brought out and inspected as to whether it is worthy of your attention. It usually is. My encouragement for beginning your projects isn't just about writing, but any creative endeavour you want to explore, whether it's art, inventing a new product, or starting a new business venture. I'll use my writing as the example here today.

When I write my novels, I break the project down into scenes. I may not know all my scenes, but I have a starting point. I choose a scene that is strong in my mind and begin there. This scene may be in the middle of the work, at the end or around chapter two. It doesn't matter where you start your project so long as you begin. Take those first tentative steps, give your creativity freedom to take you wherever it wants to go and then choose the strongest image or idea to begin.

Yes, I'm giving you permission to daydream. It's fun and something I like to do all the time. My family and friends often find me staring into space. "Laura's in her own little world again. We won't get any sense from her today." We laugh. It's who I am.

Give your full focus to this creative process. Make notes; talk to the project out loud; play music while you're thinking about it; go for a walk or other exercise you enjoy; sing, mmm, I better be honest here: I make noise to mimic singing (yes, I'm a little weird sometimes); or talk about it with a trusted friend and explore new ideas that come to mind during these out loud moments. It's a great idea to have a large white board in your work area. Before long you'll have more ideas than you know what to do with. Record each of them so that you can come back to them. Soon you will see a common thread throughout your notes. This thread is the basis of your project. Explore it some more and you'll come up with even more ideas.

Say goodbye to your doubts forever. Delight in your project, believe in it, and the product of your creativity will unfold under your hands and grow to more than you could have imagined. The fun part is getting started.

I enjoy hearing about how you tackle your projects. Please leave a comment so we can discuss this together.