P is for Precious
“My Precious.” Mutters Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. He is crazy obsessed with a ring the way that we sometimes get about our ideas—even before we even have one. Yes, creative types can be intensely imaginative at devising reasons why they shouldn’t create.
- “I have to clean my desk and take all the keys of my keyboard to wash them.”
- “I can’t find a good soundtrack to work to.”
- “I need to smudge this space, but I don’t have the right herbs.”
- “This would go better with some Pantone markers.”
- “I need to finish reading this book about being creative.”
- “I can’t start this project yet because I’m using all my creative energy thinking up amazing excuses about why I can’t start.”
Punt the Crazy
Stop being precious about your projects. Treating unrealized inkling of ideas as if it they are your babies and already the most stunning, valuable, incomparable work the world has seen, is crazy.
Maybe it will be awesome; and maybe it won’t be.
Excuses are Fear
Stop practicing your ability to make excuses not to start: you need more research, or training, or notes, or dozens more sketches, or, or, or…
Here’s a liberating fact: Whatever you create next isn’t going to be your lifetime’s crowning achievement the moment you start. At best you’re going to make a rough sketch and eventually shape it into something better in the hours, days, weeks and months that follow.
The creative process takes dedication, hard work and relentlessly pushing boundaries. Starting the creative process, however, doesn’t have to involve mental anguish.
Birth a Unicorn
If you want to create something, skip the part where you treat it like a newborn kitten, blind and deaf to the world, and vulnerable to a passing breeze. Treat your creation like a unicorn instead. The birth of a unicorn is a rare sight, to be sure, but the few who have seen it in person all agree: that every unicorn comes out fierce and full of potential. It’ll need a bit of encouragement before it can gallop confidently alone, but there’s no hope of filling the world with wonder and awe until that unicorn is out of the womb.
Yes, we finally have a post with the words “unicorn” and “womb,” which does feel weird to us—but we didn’t want to be too precious and not post anything.