Do you get an idea for a non-fiction book or a novel or an online course or a series of paintings and jump right in and start working?
But you know what? I’m trying to stop zooming into action.
I can’t change the fact I love to start quickly but I can put gentle tripwires into place to help me start with intention.
Why? Because starting projects too fast without any thinking has cost me years of time and so many opportunities to serve and succeed.
- 4 years lost to writing a memoir that didn’t work
- 3 years to a novel that didn’t work
And that’s just my writing projects. I could tally time lost by not putting a few things in place when creating my courses and my art and my business but I won’t because ouch.
And what about students in my writing programs?
For Gaye, it was 4 years of wandering in circles trying to figure out was she writing a memoir? Or a self-help book? What was her point? Then she got help from me and our powerful supportive group and crafted a fantastic book proposal she’s currently shopping to agents.
Karen? About a decade. She needed accountability and community, as well as the reassurance her idea mattered and help not cramming in everything she knew about diabetes. Now she has a wonderful important book in the world.
Sarah? 20 years. She needed help to shape her story and find the theme within her spiritual experiences, and help trusting her story mattered. Now she has a glorious book!
Without help, it’s very easy to get lost in the Great Creative Desert.
It’s just a fact I’ve come to embrace: creating alone doesn’t work.
This is part two of 4 articles to help you creating with more ease, focus, and intention. Part 1 lives here.
Name your point, your structure or form, and embrace your point of view
You start a creative or writing project with joy and fervor and then you might start to wonder:
“Why should anybody care?”
This is actually a fantastic vital question to ask but NEVER in a mean way.
I like to get my students and clients (non-fiction writers) to phrase it as,
“Dear reader/client/customer, the reason why you should care about ____ is…”
(_____ being your project.)
Take the time to dig in and name:
- What can I offer that nobody else is offering?
- (This will be easy to overlook.)
- What’s my unique experience? Story? Framework? Way of presenting, expressing, packaging? Way of using color or storytelling or patterns?
- Again you may need help digging this out because it will be so close to you.
- How will my reader/client/customer/student be different after they interact with my project? What will they know or understand or be able to do?
- Will they know how to build a birdhouse? Remember love matters? Be charmed and delighted every time they hear your song?
Every single writer, creative and business owner I have ever worked with struggles to find their hook, their unique point, their voice, and to answer the question why people will care.
And because we struggle, most of us think we don’t have anything useful or beautiful to express.
Yet every single person I’ve coached has found their unique angle.
It’s in you, I assure you, and it’s in your project but you may need help pulling it out.
Once you know what your project is really about?
It’s SO MUCH easier to move forward and create with intention.
And note, this work can be super fast and easy for some projects. So if you know, go for it!
Also, it’s okay if the answer to these questions morphs over time, that’s part of being creative.
Stay tuned for part 3 next week about organizing your work!