When we are creative it can feel like we have never ‘arrived’ at the structure of the thing we want to work on. The big picture decisions keep shifting and changing – so how are we ever meant to knuckle down and make the thing when we haven’t landed on the design yet?
This happened to me recently when I was working on a complex report. I kept coming up with new ideas for how to structure the report, new content, the headings and lay out and structure of the document kept changing. I knew if I continued I would have a half done outline and nothing written, all my hours of thinking invisible in the previous versions of the structure I had worked on and discarded as my thinking had evolved. At one point I had to say to myself ‘just stick with this structure, even if it’s not the best, just stick with it and write a draft of every section’.
It can be painful to press pause on the creative process and knuckle down to start making within a defined structure. What helps me is to think of these stages as different types of work.
I think ‘hmm, ok I’m getting carried away with design right now, when what I need is content. I need to flip into making content, and later and can revise the big picture again’.
My creative brain needs to be acknowledged, and to know it’s not getting sidelined on the project, even if I am pressing pause on that kind of big picture thinking. I know that I can layer the approach so that sometimes I am assessing big picture, and sometimes I am working to that vision and filling in the details.
I think this can happen in our lives as well. We get paralysed or lost in the depths of dreaming up possibilities for our lives, but sometimes forget to press pause on the idea generating and actually fill in the details to bring one vision to life. And that’s shame, because bringing one vision to life doesn’t mean we can’t rearrange it later, can’t redesign, restructure. Only this time we have some juicy content to move around as well, and sometimes in the doing it helps highlight new things that we want to consider in the design or big picture.
So whether it’s writing a document or thinking about your next career or life move, remember to pair thinking with action. At some stage press pause and make version 1.0, you can always rearrange things later.
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