The start of a creative project…..it’s messy. The start of a creative project…..it’s messy. The start of a creative project…..it’s messy.

The start of a creative project…..it’s messy.

Creativity

Every one of us, no matter what type of role or business we are in, has our own creative journey. Whether it’s starting a new business, developing a strategy, delivering a project or making art, we all have a process, even if we think it looks nothing like one – because processes are meant to be structured and linear and creativity is often anything but.

If you’ve been here for a while now you know I am an author, and I’m working on my third book. Whilst my past two have been fairly straight lines from concept to outline to completion, this one is on its own journey. Yes, creativity at work.

I’ve had the idea and outline for this particular book for more than two years. It came to me as I was starting to write another book that I stopped working on as it wasn’t feeling right. When a book industry colleague in California heard me riff about book 3 in passing, she stopped me immediately and said “This one, write this one now.” She swiftly sent the idea off to a top New York literary agent, who also thought the idea was gold and took me on board as a client on the spot (just so you, that is pretty rare).

But things happen on the creative journey. Because at the same time, another book was being birthed. It was called Lead Like A Woman, and all the stars were aligned for that book to be written and published quickly. So book 3 got put in the drawer (more literally, the Scrivener file got closed)  and off I went on my merry writing way.

Some ideas though, they don’t want to die. And this current book is one of those ideas. So in January this year I picked it up again, dusted it off (well, opened the file) and called my publisher to see if they were interested. They were, as am I, and just like that, we’re back to work.

As I said though, it’s not a straight line, this creative journey. Because whilst the other books have pretty much been written in three to four months, this one is meandering. If I didn’t know myself, I would be trying to push it through to the finish line, with little respect to my creative process. But I do know myself. And I know that my process can go something like this:

Come up with an idea

Get ridiculously excited

Perform a mad visioning process

Write the outline

Sincerely question my ideas

Know it must have been done before

Put it away

Come back

Contemplate

Walk away

Come back

Get frustrated

Let it sit

Come back

Revise

Create

Leave it for a while

Come back

Commit

Contemplate

Meditate

Keep triggering inspiration

Listen to my muse

Revise

Create

Revise

Create

Revise 

Create

Revise

Create

Revise 

Revise

Revise

Complete

Looks like fun right? This process can happen over a couple of months or a couple of years. Some parts of it may be compressed or really drawn out. It’s not always the same, but the elements are always there. And it’s always a dance. Right now I am about at the commit stage. Yes my publisher will be super happy about that. My deadline is not until December, so I know I have a lot of time to get this done. And I also know that I work really well on a tight timeframe and not so well when I have miles of time stretched out in front of me.

Like most creatives, I also have about ten creative projects lined up behind this one. A new creative venture itching to be scratched; another two immediate books that I’m dying to write; and lot’s of amazing stuff in my business that I want to get to.

So I need to get moving. I am giving myself a self imposed deadline to get a complete first draft done by…….hmmmm……….this is where the commitment comes in……….let’s say by end of September. Final draft end of October. Then it’s off to the publisher. I have (just this minute) blocked two full days in my calendar each week to write. I have a week in Byron next month to work on the book after I have run my writers retreat. And just like that, we are all in.

It’s messy, this creative process. I am sure yours is as well. Messy is nothing to be afraid of. It’s only an issue when you think it should be a straight line and it ends up being a pretzel. But when you start out with the pretzel in mind, you are not freaked out when the first curve comes, and the twists no longer take you by surprise.

Start your creative project. Pick it up. Dust it off. Open the file. Grab the new art journal. Start. And when you get to that first pretzelly turn, put your helmet on, kick yourself into high gear, and ride that twist until it flatlines. This is your work. All you have to do is show up and do it. It’s that simple. And that messy. So go. 

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If you have a creative project you are itching to get started on or make progress with, then come and join me and a group of lovely women at my August Writers Retreat in Byron Bay. There are two spots left. We will have a week filled with creativity, writing, workshops, coaching, rest, nourishment, sleep and walks on the beach (wait until you see the amazing beach house we are staying in). Special rare appearance by my friend and million copy best selling author Bronnie Ware (yes, more than a million copies!). Give yourself the gift of this time, support and guidance. It’s the chance of a lifetime and I’d love you to join me.

 

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