Step 1 of a creative project is similar to falling in love. In the beginning it is all new and exciting, your stomach is filled with butterflies and you are energized just by the thought of it all. At the start of a relationship it is so easy (and fun) to skip to the end and daydream of the happily-ever-after. The start of a project is similar, one minute you have an idea for a screen play, the next your mind flips to you winning an Oscar. (Or no, is that just me?)
Step 2 on the other hand can be just as easily related to the next several years of a relationship. Yes, there are still times of fun and happiness but once the initial buzz of new beginning has settled, that’s where the real work comes in. Just like in a relationship where you have to navigate habits, families and finances, the second half of a project is when you must put your creative shoes aside and settle into the logistics of actually making your idea a reality.
Simply put, step 1 is just way more fun. When you are at the start of a creative process it is in your best interest to unleash the crazy and let it all out, that is usually where the best ideas come from. Yet, when you are in the middle of the creative process the crazy must be put away and the professional type A part of your personality has to come out to, ahem, play. Who would you rather hang with, the crazy one or the professional? As my college days have showed me, my choice is the crazy most days.
As someone who has fallen in love with ideas a million times over, I have come to identify a few steps to help move on from the crazy and actually get the logistics done.
1.) Ground. It’s important when moving onto phase two to tame the craze a bit. I love to do a few simple grounding techniques when its time to get down to business. I will envision my feet growing roots deep into the ground, it helps keep my energy low and focused. I also like to do a grounding meditation like the one here. Even more so, on days where I know have to be focused, I will eat grounding foods like root vegetables or ginger tea.
2.) Reduce Distractions. This one is big time for me. There is nothing more distracting than looking at other people’s social media accounts and seeing all of the awesome things they have done with their ideas. I am sure you’ve heard the quote, “don’t compare somebody’s end to your middle.” This is especially true when working on a project. Social media can be super inspiring but at certain points of the creative process it is more hindering than good. In the middle of a project you don’t need inspiration, you need focus. So, if you are in the need for a lunar pause in creating, run to the kitchen and make a snack, get outside and enjoy the sun or simply get out of your chair and move around. Those will be so much more beneficial than grabbing your phone for a social media break.
3.) Find comfort in the oooey-gooey middle. Change your mindset. Although the middle of a project is the least glamorous part, it just may be the most important part. This is where you find your strength, where you tap into your stamina, where you figure out the hard stuff and come out greater on the other side. Instead of thinking about the middle as the no-fun hard part, remind yourself that this is where the real magic happens and if you make it through this part, your happily-ever-after shouldn’t be too far behind.
Here is to your Step 2, Happy Creating!