Start a project
Do you believe in magic?
Hello, you amazing, hard-working human. I like you! I think you have unique talents and abilities. You are your own person, with experiences and a personality that is unlike any other person on this planet. You have incredible potential it is my goal to encourage and coach you to realize your brilliance and vitality.
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The dullness of a rut
Are you stuck in a rut? Do you feel like you’re in the movie Groundhog Day” - reliving the same day over and over again? You go, go, go, and get exhausted only to crash into your bed, fall asleep, and wake up to do it all over again the next day. Then you look back and ask, “What did I really accomplish?
Let me be clear. I’m not talking about a routine. A routine usually is a good thing. But, what is a routine other than a set of habits? Habits build our personality. Good habits beget a good personality, bad habits do the opposite. And dull habits make us, you guessed it, dull - like a knife that has been used repeatedly and never sharpened. A routine that dulls you is a rut.
Are you dull? Have you lost your edge? Want to sharpen up?
Good news: you can do it rather quickly. How? You guessed it…
Start a project
By “project,” I mean something that has an element of creativity to it. Some examples are:
Writing a short story
Creating a mini-comic book
Writing a song
You get the idea. Something like “pulling the weeds in my backyard” is not the kind of project I’m talking about. Although, you still might want to do that. Doggone weeds!
Pick a project. Make it something that you have been wanting to do. I recommend writing down all the cool things you might like to do and narrowing it down to three. Then pick the one that will take the least amount of money and time. Start small. When your project is too big, it can be unwieldy. In fact, most creative people work in bite-sized pieces. Your first project should be one bite-sized piece.
Now that you have your project chosen, it’s time to start!
There’s magic in movement and momentum. Wonderful things happen when there is movement in your life. I’ve heard it said that a ship cannot be steered if it isn’t in motion. It’s the same with you.
When you think about it, walking is merely falling forward and catching yourself with every step, adjusting along the way. As long as your leaning forward and moving your legs, you should be OK.
Creativity is the same thing. You gotta start moving and fall forward. Naturally, you’ll take some wrong turns and stumble but those aren’t bad things. It’s all part of the process, one step in front of the other. Stay positive.
The hidden magic of starting a project
You may be thinking that starting a project may seem like one more thing you’re heaping atop your already busy schedule. That’s fair. Yet, it doesn’t work exactly as you may think.
If you are feeling busy yet, at the same time, feel as if you’re not getting as much done as you would like, you may be sabotaged by time gremlins - evil beasts that eat away at your time. These are things like:
Netflix (and other streaming services)
Switching from task to task
The best way to rid yourself of time gremlins is to schedule a definite time in your day when you will work on your project. I recommend a 30-minute slot. You’ll find that you’re not adding something to your day, you’re simply making the best use of your time. When that happens, the time gremlins go away.
But, wait, there’s more magic!
Here is a list of the benefits you may encounter by taking on a project:
Increased skill and ability
New contacts and connections
Healthy dopamine drips into your brain
There are probably a few more benefits, but these are the biggies. I’d take any of these over a gremlin any day!
The best way to start
You may want to punch me after hearing this, but the best way to start is to start. How do you get motivated to start? Just start.
Let’s say, for example, you want to draw a comic strip like mine above, but you’ve never done anything like it in the past. That’s ok. Think of the easiest way to start. How about taking a piece of paper and drawing three squares. Add a couple of simple characters, and some dialogue, and now you have a 1st draft. Note: can’t draw anything other than stick figures? Check out XKCD.
In any case, that first draft is a huge step in the process. What did you learn? What can you do? What skills do you need to improve? Start looking up ways to get better and do a second draft, then a third, then a fourth, and so on. With each iteration, you’ll get better and learn.
It’s important to have an idea of the scope of your project. For the example above, maybe your scope is a comic strip that you feel confident enough to post on social media. Also, give yourself a deadline. Without one, you’ll just keep iterating and iterating the same thing and it will eat itself. Try 100 days. Here’s a 100-day project (probably a bit bigger than the one you may start):
I’d love to hear all about your project and, even better, experience what you created - see it, hear it, etc. Feel free to share with me and others. Don’t worry if it doesn’t blow everyone’s hair back. It’s a project and you’re human. Start another one and see what happens!