I've been reviewing our archives. Here's the lead-off message from August 2012. Enjoy. Lynx
Creatively moving a project from conception to completion requires we complete many, many Steps.
Sometimes its hard to know where to start. In John Barleycorn, Jack London's vivid memoir, he describes a predicament familiar to many an aspiring artist: 'My difficulty was that I had no one to advise me. I didn't know a soul who had written or who had ever tried to write. I didn't even know one reporter.'" (1)
We are made of many parts, and sometimes they nullify each other and we stall. Write about it here to achieve that breakthrough inner flow.
There are three voices within every creator:
- The Inner Artist
The Inner Editor
The Inner Agent
As creatives we are blazing a trail by definition. No one has every done exactly what we are attempting. We advance towards something we may never have achieved before. The way forward may not be always the easiest, the most direct, fun, or obvious. Open your way forward by viewing your task through one or more of these themes. You might consider meditating on them one at a time. When you've worked through the list, start again at the top.
1. [Sunday] "Success" is sticking with it, one step at a time. Carry on through disappointment and set-backs (failure is a taboo word), by returning to the fundamentals of what ever it is you're doing. Learn from salespeople and job seekers who are coached that every "no" just brings them that much closer to a "yes."
2 [Monday] Measure your progress with addition rather than subtraction. This is a lesson passed down from Ernest Hemingway who wrote in pencil on his door jamb the number of words he wrote that day. Same is true for Jack London who wrote 1000 words a day no matter what. When he reached that number his work for the day was done. It adds up, it always does.
3. [Tuesday] Use the best time of your day to your best advantage. Protect it, put it in your calendar. Say no to minor distractions, petty problems, and anything that interferes with your productivity.
4. [Wednesday] Flip your 'buts.' Oh how we beg off action by saying to ourselves, "I'd really get into this but I need XYZ." Turn that around, "I need XYZ but I'm going forward anyway."
5. [Thursday] Provide yourself several reasons or motivations for doing the task. If one doesn't get you in motion, draw upon the next, then the next.
6. [Friday] Allow the conscious and planned parts of you to complement the spontaneous and squiggly parts. Professional service providers (like printers) sometimes say to customers who seem to want to specify everything, "There's quality (q), price (p), & time (t). Pick 2." In terms of personal projects like many of us are engaged in, this translates as: how good does this step need to be (q); how much effort is needed (p); and how long will it take (t). Say the goal is to complete a 1000-word blog. You might commit yourself to finishing a very bad rough draft (q) in 2 hours (t). You then let the effort involved (p) find it's own level. Alternatively, you may want a very good first draft (q) that you put some quality research into (p). Not specifying the time allows you the freedom to let this draft take as much time as necessary—could take 5 hours, could take 20.
7. [Saturday] Claim your authority to turn things Off and say No. Successful steps marry a string of Yeses to get to the work with a wall of Nos to barricade your time and attention against distractions and the dithering away of your lifeforce.
Poor Jack London couldn't even afford a computer to find support online. But we have. Use this thread to give and offer support around those steps to completion.
(1) Call of the Wild: Jack London's Advice on Honing Your Creative Craft by Scott McDowell
(2) Is An Inner Argument Holding Back Your Productivity? by Tara Mohr.
** This thread has been renewed every month since about June 2003 **