Call me dramatic, but nothing makes my blood run colder than a blank page — cursor blinking away. Do you know those feels? Then I bet you also know the importance of developing your own creative process.
Because it doesn't matter if you're writing a book, starting your own company, designing a webpage, or making a movie. All of it is creative and all of it needs a process. Without one, you're pretty much setting yourself up for failure, as well as a lot of time lost to staring at that blinking cursor. (Ugh.)
In an effort to save us all from such agony, I reached out to Amanda Boleyn, co-founder and host of "She Did It Her Way Podcast," a show that interviews successful female entrepreneurs. (How cool is that?) Besides offering tips for developing a creative process, Boleyn agreed that going forth without one is a very bad idea. "Often times we brainstorm ideas, get a hunch, emotion floods us, and we immediately take action without any plan in place." This, unsurprisingly, is a pretty good way to waste your time.
So, would you like to formulate a plan for actually getting sh*t done? Then check out the tips below for making your own creative process. Here's hoping you stay on track, have fun, and end up with an amazing finished product.
1. Get In The Right Frame Of Mind
First things first — you have to clear you mind and get ready to be creative. This includes letting go of preconceived ideas, as well as any negative thoughts. "Part of being creative is to let your mind flow free without any judgement as to whether or not what you're thinking is right or wrong," Boleyn says. Once you can do that, then the process can set itself in motion.
2. Be Ready To Brainstorm
It may be tempting to barge forth — with or without a plan — in an effort to get things started (and eventually completed). But remember that the creative process takes time. As Boleyn says, "It is important to remind yourself that just because you think it, does not mean you have to act on it. You're simply brainstorming."
3. Let Your Mind Wander
Like I said, it doesn't matter if you're painting, writing, coming up with business ideas, or creating a pitch for your next office meeting — one of the best ways to come up with a good idea is to let the mind wander. "It’s often the mundane activities like taking a shower, driving, or taking a walk that lure great ideas to the surface," said Scott McDowell on 99u.com. So get out there and have a think.
4. Keep Your Emotions In Check
OK, so you just came up with the best idea. Now it's time to panic and scrabble it all together, right? Well, you might think so. But it's a much better idea to step away for a while. As Boleyn says, "... when emotions are running high, it is easier to convince ourselves that every idea is a good one." Coming back to it later, when you've had a chance to process, may reveal that your idea wasn't so hot after all.
5. Ask Yourself Questions
Only after you've taken me to cool off can you sit back down at your desk and mull things over. As Boleyn suggests, you should ask yourself questions like, "Why would I want to do this? What's the impact to my business? Does it make sense?" Depending on your response, you can decide whether or not to move forward.
6. Jot Down All Your Ideas
Nothing's worse than having a brilliant idea whilst walking down the street, only to forget it by the time you get home. This is why you have to be ready to jot things down at moment's notice, according to McDowell. Carry around a voice recorder or pad of paper, or keep a special note ready in your phone. When genius strikes, you'll be so glad you did.
7. Go Be A Sponge
Running short on ideas? Then it may be time to head out into the world for some inspiration. "I'm going to tons of art shows, I'm watching a lot of movies, I'm reading voraciously… and I’m just sponging up ideas and trying to formulate my own idea about the subject," said filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, in an article by Maria Popova on Brainpickings.org. Go out and do the same.
8. Have Everything You Need On Hand
You can't expect to successfully create new things if you don't have your necessary accoutrements nearby. So create a desk space with everything you need — pens, pencils, rulers, calculators, etc. That way, when you're really in it, you won't have to break your concentration searching for something.
9. Think About Your Audience
Unless your project is for your eyes only, you're going to have to think about who's going to see it. "For creativity to reach others and accomplish anything, you need to once again use those critical thinking skills to think about your audience and craft your message or idea," said Jessica Stillman on Inc.com. Thinking about how you'll package and sell your idea is an incredibly important step.
10. Have An End Goal
Remember what I said about having a plan? As Boleyn says, not having one is a good way to waste your time. That's why it's important to steer your creativity in the right direction. Outline your plan, give yourself deadlines — do whatever it takes to stay on track.
11. Don't Get Overwhelmed
There may be no true agony like that blank page, but it's still no reason to get overwhelmed. Just accept that the creative process will be long, and tiring, and difficult. And then have fun with it.
After all, what's the point in being creative if you can't enjoy the process?
Images: Pexels (12)