If you’re a creative person, you’ve often had the following experience. Something “large” inhabits you: a theme for a clothing line, a whole novel, a complete sense of what a song cycle should sound like. It comes to you like a flash, inhabits you—and then, there you stand. You got filled up with a vision but nothing tangible has been created yet.
The work of actually creating “it” must now begin and, as Virginia Woolf put it, your enthusiasm can easily turn to resignation as you face the fact that the so much work is ahead of you and, worse, the finished product may not (and probably won’t) match your brief, beautiful vision of it. Suddenly you are mired in strict reality—exactly where you must be. This is the theme of creativity coach Anya Toomre’s post.
There is something magical about an idea when the possibilities of it seem to shout WOW! It’s a lovely moment to bask in and savor. But all too soon, doubt and fear are knocking on your door, demanding to know just how you expect to bring this possibility to life. These pushy characters you know from experience – they are the anxious relatives in the creative process family.
In honoring your creative spirit, however, you welcome in your intruding guests, give them some tea, and then share with them your plan of action. It is possible for everyone to follow through with a creative idea and make it happen. Here are three simple steps that will open doors to great creative potential, opportunity and results.
STEP ONE: BREAK DOWN IDEAS INTO SMALLER GOALS
To go from inspiration to result, first convert your idea into a goal. Break down the larger goal into smaller, bite-sized measurable pieces. You don’t need to have all of the steps from beginning to end determined, but you do need to have a general idea of where you are headed. Sometimes it is enough to just get started—to begin to do some writing, some painting, or some playing.
STEP TWO: SHOW UP AND DO THE WORK. DAILY.
The second part in making an idea come to life is showing up to do the art that matters to you. Cultivate a creative practice by regularly and deliberately working on your project. Schedule time to do this work, show up mindfully, do your work and come back the next day to do it again.
Sure, it is much easier said than done to develop a creative practice. Starting is relatively easy when feeling enthusiastic about an idea. The real challenge is consistently showing up even when you’d prefer to take a break, sleep in, or skip the day because you are feeling frustrated or uninspired. Showing up regularly will produce astonishing results even if you only do a little bit each time. Drip by drip. Step by step. Piece by piece.
STEP THREE: TRUST THE PROCESS. TRUST YOURSELF.
The final part in achieving your creative goals is trust. Trust the process and trust yourself. No one knows all the steps ahead of time. The parts that you don’t know in the beginning will get figured out as you progress. Ideas will come to you and solutions will appear as you become aware of new pathways.
There will be days when you’re not sure of what you’re doing. That’s okay. You just put in some effort. There will be days when it’s really hard to create. That’s okay, too. Celebrate showing up and doing something. Your mind will continue to work on the project between sessions.
Trust the process. There will be days when everything seems to go wrong. Those moments can feel frustrating.
That’s okay. Progress is still being made. New ideas can emerge from the chaos. Chaos serves a purpose. Tinkering is part of the process. And there will also be days when everything goes fabulously well! Those days reinforce why you are a creative and why the making is so important to you.
It may seem like big creative work happens in an instant, but it doesn’t. All projects, big or small, happen the same way – with small steps, strung together consistently over time, with you trusting the process along the way.
Visit Eric Maisel at www.ericmaisel.com