I was listening to The One Thing Podcast – How to honor your time blocks part 1 and 2 and a really interesting point was made. In fact, it was so MIND BLOWING that it brought me to reality and opened me up to creative possibilities.
It was the concept that: sometimes you fail so slowly that it feels like your succeeding.
Read that again.
It hit me hard, that’s exactly what it felt like, though I didn’t want to admit it.
I let that sink in for a day when I heard part 2: It can feel like your failing but really you are slowly succeeding.
What? Though very true, I’ve come to know through experience. Now that’s more like it, optimism.
It got me to thinking about my own ideas over the years and where I was now. Ideas used to just come, I was free to explore them as if I was tuning into a channel of creativity or dipping into a see of creative possibility.
I reflected back on past ideas and projects, on things I have mixed feelings of, the ideas that got away. It felt hard, almost embarrassing but nevertheless, I trudged through them mentally.
Here they are, overall there are 5 failed ideas:
- I once had a website called craftycupid, I had just got into listening to podcasts on crafting and creativity. I blogged for a while, made tutorial videos and sold some items at a market. I outgrew that and moved onto bravecreators.
2. Brave creators was blogging again on creativity and showing people you could make art no matter what. The only trouble was I was going through some personal and professional stuff myself, the saying- you’ve got to help yourself before you help anyone else, is very true. I couldn’t fully embrace the tag line ‘create freely move forward’. I also had an up and down relationship with my website developer who was also my actual love relationship and he was going through lots of stuff too. So I painted, journaled, wrote and used any resources I could in personal development and creativity to get me through. I also had another website I started for just my art and put together a poetry book.
3. My art website was created to be a portfolio and a small blog with stories about how the paintings came to be. As you can imagine with more than one website I wasn’t giving my all into one idea and I was confused as to which category I fitted into. I had questions. Was I here to empower people to positive change through creativity? Was I here to inspire people through my paintings?
4. I compiled 30 poems into an unpublished book Poetic Warrior, I was in an ordinary depression, where daily problems and blocks in creativity were healed through written poetry and spoken word. It was free speech and raw feelings, I did one slam and won it. They saved my sanity, maybe my life. I put together a book barely with computer software that I didn’t know how to use and bought ISBNs. Ultimately it didn’t get put together as I was so reliant on my partner for help and by the time I was putting it together, the poems I wrote in a depression no longer fitted the happy place I was in. I could have kept plugging away at it, metaphors and experience may have helped someone and I’ve learned to ask for help but ultimately to be as self-sufficient as possible to get to the finish line.
5. I got fully into yoga again and started doing Kundalini Level 1, here I had a new site under my kundalini name and blogged on the 40-day practices I was doing, about Art I was making (or crawling as I was getting back on my feet again) and eventually some Sikhi too.
I did some more self inquiry, yoga is so beneficial though blogging about it doesn’t get to the core nor is there much to write about it that doesn’t seem just like any other article. My Art practice was minimal as I was in a smaller room but still, I just kept journaling and painting, could I step into the Artist role once again and blog about creative living? I wanted to share some practicing Sikhi in real life experiences too, though wanted to add value to Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. Though how? From self-enquiry and getting still, this site was born!
Other failed projects: teaching yoga in a hall or more people at home (so far) I spread the word, printed leaflets, called around to no avail. I bought a typewriter and have a project still in progress since last Summer – A year of trust and love in Polaroids gallery and though I bought a new Instax 90, I’m not sure if my love for Polaroid’s is still there or as strong. Or whether I could use them along with writing to produce something about my year of singledom – a year that changed my life for the better. Even small ideas like a Sikhi Q n A series for our wedding or creative everyday series and a podcast are on the table right now.
A thought came that I don’t get creative ideas anymore, was that true? Getting ideas isn’t a skill you just lose, surely?
As Elizabeth Gilbert mentions in Big Magic on ideas, it’s all about working anyway, ideas or not:
‘I work either way, you see – assisted or unassisted – because that is what you do in order to live a fully creative life. I work steadily, and I always thank the process. Whether I am touched by grace or not, I thank creativity for allowing me to engage with it all’.
She also mentions Ruth Stone, whose creative process of holding an idea when it comes, inspired these lines of poetry I wrote all those years ago- ‘When winged words come by, get out your pen and chase them’.
I figure the whole reason I had ideas back then was that I was open to them and I’m finding time is a huge factor in this idea growing process.
Summary/5 ways to get into the idea flow:
- Keep an idea book in your bag/by your bed/with you. This is number one before anything else. As experience has shown me what I’ve read about- writing ideas at the time of writing them, even if it’s a quick two-word note or bad sketch, is so powerful in that how you felt about the idea when you first wrote it comes through whenever you check back at your idea book. Get an A5 or smaller depending on bag/pocket sizes.
- 1-3 hour chunks where you can crank out something as well as have mental space to wonder things like ‘I wonder what it will look like if I do this….’ and then try it out. From that chunk of time you finish with a follow-up task related to that and from there, chunks of time add up to a finished piece or project.
- Getting inspired by the most useful and enjoyable resources around you, for me, it’s podcasts and books that lead to idea finding.
- Try out more active use of your time for getting shit done rather than passive days at cafes or lounging outside. This is where I am now, though last year many ‘me hours’ were highly beneficial, not so much this time around. Though it’s all about balance.
- Make what you chose to do into a project and keep plugging away! The1thing free resources are great for this, the 66-day challenge especially for accountability.
Be completely open to the idea building process, instead of having an internal mantra of – I used to have ideas – flip it to – I am open to ideas and will start where I am.