Sometimes we can get creatively blocked – our current projects have been completed we have no ideas for new projects to undertake. That’s alright. We don’t have to be “on” all the time.
But sometimes – at least I hope you’ve experienced this – there are so many ideas going through your head – so much inspiration – that you don’t know what do with it all and you can’t decide what project to actually focus on. That’s not a bad problem to have. J I’m actually in the process of releasing an ebook about how to keep those creative juices flowing – I regularly have several ideas a day and I want to help others have the same type of flow -so keep tuned for that.
Anyway, realize that you can be working on more than one project at a time. You don’t have to spend eight or ten hours a day on one book – it’s alright to spend the morning on one story and the afternoon on another. You may think you won’t make as much progress but your attention can only be sustained for so long. There comes a point when you think you’re working but what you’re putting out is, well, how shall I say it – gobbleygook. So it’s probably a good idea to split your time up a bit to keep things fresh.
Understand that all of your ideas may not come to fruition – perhaps they were never meant to – and those that do won’t necessarily happen at the same time. Some projects may have to be put on the back burner for a while. You have to trust that the projects you chose to undertake are the right projects for you for some reason or another.
Alright – enough with the preamble. Here are some tips to help you decide what to work on and when.
First of all, you can narrow down the projects that actually inspire you. Some ideas are just random passing fancy – you see a butterfly and you think you should do an art installation about butterflies. And maybe you should. Maybe it’s going to be your signature piece. You can certainly keep all ideas on tap, but some things hit you in the gut and keep coming back to you. Those are the ones to go for because they will keep you working. Keep in mind, however, that this is a creative industry so, if you do want to make a living at it, some projects may be more marketable than others. But , even if it doesn’t make you millions of dollars, you can still be learning something from the process – maybe it’s a new technique, maybe it connects you will something that can help you in the future.
Is there a deadline of some kind? Even if you’re not hired to work on a project with an expected turnaround time, there can still be better or worse times to put something out there. For example, if you are interested in composing some Christmas music with the hopes of having them licensed for holiday movies, you’re not going to start the process in November and expect to hear your handiwork on your TV screen in December. I mean, the following December maybe but these things are set in motion months ahead of time. Books discussing trending topics need to be finished rather quickly or they will no longer be relevant by the time they are published. If you’re writing a play for a specific situation, like a fringe festival, it has to be completed before the start of rehearsals, not before the start of the festival. Kind of obvious, I know, but it had to be said. 😉
While we’re on the topic of deadlines, if you are interested in obtaining grants to fund your projects – something many artists do – you have to be mindful of deadlines for applications and when you are allowed to actually begin the project. If you have an idea for a grant-worthy project, you will likely need to do preliminary preparation well ahead of time so you can submit your plan before their deadlines – depending on the funding organization, some programs are always open to submissions, others accept a couple of times a year. And, even when you are accepted – which would be awesome – you may not be allowed to begin your project for another several months, according to the agreement. So, with the long-term preplanning involved, you want to get started on it as soon as possible while having other projects to fulfill you in the meantime.
In fact, it may not be a bad idea to always having one short -term and one long-term project on the go. That way, you can scratch that itch that wants the immediate satisfaction of completing something – and might make you some money in the process – and still have that magnum opus, that masterpiece they will be talking about for generations to come. You can be submitting articles to your favourite magazines while you’ve got your epic novel on the go.
So, those are some tips if you are in the blessed situation of finding yourself overwhelmed with inspiration. Have a fabulous day and keep on creating!