Is it essential to know what your project is going to end up like before beginning? Or is it better to just get going and work it out as you go along?
Today I look at two very different ways of starting a project. And why one approach doesn’t fit everyone.
There is no creative act without starting. Obvious no? Not surprising then that one of the primary triggers of Creative Block is Reluctance to Start.
We can get stuck starting a big new project or facing a blank page on a daily basis.
I've always put this down to:
But hey, I accept that I'll always be learning new things about the creative process and the other day, I realised that there was another factor. A factor that works as a double-edged sword:
Now, I’m wary of phrases that begin, 'There are two sorts of people...'
But in this case it seems there are two distinct - and intrinsically opposite - approaches to the creative act. For the first group, this need to know is a blessing. For the second it can be a cause of block.
So let’s take a look at these two approaches so you can figure out which camp you fall into and which approach works best for you.
If you’re in this first camp, you need to know pretty clearly what your creative project will look like when it's done in order to feel motivated to do it.
This first approach is succinctly explained by my Twitter friend, the vibrant artist, designer and branding coach, Nela Dunato in a recent comment on my post Is Resistance Unavoidable?
...resistance is the strongest in the very beginning of the project when I don't have a clear vision of what I want to do, and don't know if I'll do well...When I already have a vision of the final work, usually I can't wait to start.
2. Don’t need to know
If you’re in this second camp, you’re approach is totally the opposite. All you need is a vague 'starter' idea in order to launch into creative action.
"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
One foot in front of the other
I fall firmly into this second camp.
Over the years I’ve discovered that needing to know what the outcome of a project will look like, sounds the death knell for my creativity.
In fact, for me, having a fixed end result in mind is a guaranteed recipe for an onset of Creative Block.
The more my project deviates from its initial, sketchy idea, the more engaged I will be.
If this is you, take courage, you’re not alone!
I was recently chatting with a blogger friend, Sophie Russell-Ross. She excitedly told me about her ideas for a multi-media book. But then she expressed her misgivings that she wasn't sure exactly what the end result of her project would look like.
I was happy to be able to reassure Sophie that, in my experience, 'not knowing' was no bar to starting!
Are there really two kinds of people?
Ok, so there aren’t really two sorts of people.
You might work best in one of these ways most of the time, but also have instances when the opposite approach will work like a charm.
Or perhaps you always navigate a subtle mixture of the two.
Without having to anchor yourself firmly in any camp, it's useful to recognise the factors that float your particular creative boat. That way you can regularly head off on exciting creative journeys rather than staying permanently moored.
Which way do you work best?
Do you need a clear vision to begin or will just the haziest of sketches suffice?
What Stops You In Your Tracks?
Reluctance to start is just one of the 7 Triggers of Creative Block. Follow the link to find out the rest!