If you are a creative like me, I know that sometimes when you start a big project it can get overwhelming and it’s hard to get it off the ground. It can be anything from a proposal, a white canvas, website or something you are building at home. The overwhelming feeling of looking at the non existing before starting can result— in taking forever to take that step into the void, the challenge and what will most likely be a bliss.
Even though the absolute love for the creative process is there, the fear of not knowing how to do it, thinking you don’t know how to do it, or for it to not turn out how you expected it would, can sometimes be so big it holds you back.
I have come to learn that, “just do it” is not only for sports.
By just doing it, start to write down, sketch, print out images or whatever you prefer without caring how it comes out, how it’s structured or how it looks, how it goes, sort of tricks you into doing what you want to do. Getting something out of your mind and onto the medium you have chosen will make your idea start shaping and happening. All you need to do is to keep your idea in mind to stay focused and not get off path to some other idea. It might not turn out exactly how you planned, but that is ok because you are doing it, and it will have a possibility to turn into something amazing.
Next comes my motto, my mantra, my process and what I live by:
Simplify – Organize – Beautify
In whatever way you have collected your ideas, start shuffling them around to see if you can see a pattern, find something you really like about them. I’m sure some of the ideas are very similar. When I work on a project I write down notes or tear out pictures and then when I go back and look at them I see that a lot of them are the same, which makes it easy for me to see what directions to go and what the final pieces should be. Deep down I know, I just need to listen to it. So then I simplify by simply (no pun intended) removing all the fluff and get to the core – the good stuff.
After you have all the good stuff. It’s time to organize it so it makes sense, so it flows, so somebody other than you knows what you are trying to convey.
Before going to the last step. Step away. Yes, close your computer, put away your project and leave it for a day or even more if you can. If you only have a short time, go for a walk. Walking is my favorite way to organize my thoughts or come up with new ideas. The mix of physical activity with creative thinking seems to be the cure for most of my blocks. Then when you come back you will be able see much more clearly.
Go over the first two steps again to make sure you haven’t missed anything, or maybe by being away for a bit you have a better solution.
Then to the fun part, decorate! Finish up with making it beautiful. If your project was to organizing your office, then finishing touches could be to hang your favorite picture on the wall, buy color coordinated accessories so it’s fun to come to work. If you are painting a painting, perhaps add some highlights and darken shadows to give it more depth. If you are writing an article, make your title and subtitles cohesive, add some italics and spaces where needed, maybe switch out some words to not sound repetitive. The small details will make a big difference and it will be much more pleasant to work, look at or read what you have created. Before you know it you have a finished, well done and thought out piece!
I have always used this process for any design work I have done or do. Then I decided to start writing about what I do and realized that I have to learn how to do that better to get my thoughts across. My writing mentor gave me a how-to write an article document, and I was delighted and surprised that it included a very similar process to what I use all the time… yup. Just Start, Simplify, Organize, Beautify works on pretty much everything and makes it a much more pleasant process.
Enjoy and get creative!
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