How To Pick An Idea
In a quick, brain-dump, without giving this much thought, write down a list of the following:
- Dream careers / paths
- People you admire lately for their creativity
- Future visions you would love to see for yourself
- Famous people or influencers you admire who are creative
Take moment to list a bunch of these. Now, scan through and see if you can pinpoint the category, theme, something about them that seems like a similar thread that connects them, pattern or something else that ties them all together? Write those thoughts down.
FOLLOW THE JOY
The thing I hear a lot is, “I don’t know where to start or what to do?”
A lot of that questioning, second-guessing and confusion with what first step to take comes from pressure – pressure that we put on ourselves for whatever we create to be something amazing, to impress people or to turn what we’re doing into a business that makes money. We get bogged down by this heavy weight because we’re applying force to a thing that doesn’t operate well with this kind of constrictive force applied. Creativity is not a thing you can put a chain on and drag around – it is nebulous, light, and ethereal. The tricky point of contention here is that creativity does love constraints, it’s just that within it’s constraints, it wants to be free floating and allowed to expand while simultaneously staying in the box. This is a careful point of distinction to recognize. To help lift that heavy weight and free our creativity from the weight of the world, let’s reconnect with the joy of creation and ground back into our roots. Get paper and pen out to be ready to write out some thoughts after this short guided meditation (see video above for the guided meditation).
What creative activity were you doing? Where were you? How did it feel to do what you were doing in this moment? Take a few minutes to write that down.
RESOURCEFULNESS AS A STARTING POINT
When we were children, we were all creative – because we weren’t conditioned yet to know that people had opinions about good or bad work, or that you could make money from it – or even what money was. We were given materials, or maybe found them around the house, analyzed the situation and observed what those materials could do, and then jumped in and gave it a try.
Listen to what I just said - were given materials. Who gave us the materials, maybe it was a parent, a teacher, a caregiver. Or if we found the materials – where did we find them? We found them in our homes or classrooms, they were already there. Bottom line is – we didn’t have to choose the medium of our expression, and I think that’s where a lot of us run into trouble. We live in a world where we can buy any art supplies, musical instrument or notebook off the internet and it shows up at our house in a few days. This is part of what makes “what to pick” very overwhelming.
So, let’s be resourceful – just for a second, as a thought experiment.
Pretend you aren’t allowed to buy a SINGLE new thing and I told you, you HAVE you use what you have in your house right now and find an existing space to hunker down without moving any furniture or setting anything up. If you HAD to express your creativity using these existing tool in your current space, what would you do? Take a moment to mentally scan your environment and things that you own. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? What would you use to express your creativity? Where would you sit, stand or be?
JOURNAL PROMPT - RESISTANCE
Now, take note because some resistance is likely coming up here. As you do this exercise, you might be coming up with objections as to why this is impossible, hard or not ideal. What are those reasons, write it down. Is the thought of creating with your existing materials frustrating – why? Take a minute to write about that. If you find yourself thinking, ugh, I can’t use this stuff that I have, I would have to buy something new – write down why, what is the reason? Or is the thought of creating in your current physical environment frustrating – Why? Write that down. If you’re thinking – ugh, I can’t create here, this would not be a nice experience to do anything here – write down why.
Or, you might have something come up where you’re happy with the tools and space that you have, but you just don’t know what direction to take. Take a moment to write down the first 10 directions that come to mind. What are the paths? If you’re writer, your list could be – nonfiction, fiction, short stories, blog, book, journal…etc If you’re a painter, you list could be, acrylic, watercolor, digital, small, large, theme..etc. Write down the overwhelm, the thought swirl of what options there are to pick from when you think about starting something creative.
Now put that list aside
CONNECTING OUR DREAMS WITH THE NOW
Now let’s put your Dream Big journal prompt next to the Start Where you are journal prompt. We’re going to link these 2 together to find a potential path. Review what you wrote for these 2 exercises and search for ways that could start where you are but have that activity point to a potential future state. For example, If you wrote down you wanted to be a successful Interior Designer like Joanna Gaines for your dream career and for your “Start Where You Are” prompt you wrote down creative writing as an activity you would find joy doing right now with the materials and space that you currently have, maybe you could start with writing a series of short essays about interior spaces that you love. Or if you wrote down that you want to be a famous painter like Yayoi Kusama, and on for “Start Where You Are” prompt you wrote that right now with the current things and environment that you’re in, you would enjoy make watercolor paintings, maybe you could start with exploring color in a series of abstract paintings.
What are those connections for you? Brainstorm a bunch of possibilities based on those 2 journals prompts and circle your favorites. How could you guide your ship towards that north star while staying grounded in the now?
TURNING RESISTANCE INTO SOLVABLE PROBLEMS
JOURNAL PROMPT – SOLVING PROBLEMS
Just for the sake of this exercise, pick 1 direction from the above journal prompt. Now let’s get that list we made of resistance points that were coming up while we were writing our “Start Where You Are” journal prompt. Some of you may have a bunch of frustration that came up around your current materials and some might be about your physical space, or both. Let’s look at this list and pretend for a moment that these problems HAVE to be solved for. When we find solutions to these frustration, keep your current financial situation in mind. Take a moment to write down a bunch of creative ideas for the frustrations you expressed. For example, if you were wanting to paint, but don’t have space to set up an easel, maybe you could get a table easel and a Tupperware it fits into that you could easily set up and break down, store in the box and put under your bed. If materials are an issue because you want to buy something expensive, maybe this warrants a conversation with your partner or if you live alone a look at your budget to see what you could give up for a few months to free up the money. Take a few minutes to write our solutions.
Often times, we dismiss our ideas because of the walls of resistance that go up. This is your chance to view the worries that surface as an opportunity to solve a problem that will put you onto the creative path you’ve been waiting for!
LET IT SIMMER
Let the ideas you came up with and the solutions to the resistance you saw sit for a few days in your mind. Sometimes during a monotonous task like washing the dishes, taking a shower or going for a walk, new thoughts will come up related to your idea or breakthrough realizations will reveal themselves to point you in the direction you’re supposed to go. If you get any of these insights, make sure to write them down right away before they leave you!