You know why creative people are often the least productive people on the planet?
Because of all the freaking ideas!
Creative people – oh, geez, you know what I’m talking about – you guys, we are just BRIMMMMMMING with ideas. Stuffed. Overflowing. I don’t even consider myself “an idea person” and I could still spout ideas at you all day long.
- Want a business idea? Got ‘em.
- Marketing ideas? Over here!
- How about ideas on blog posts you could write, or ebooks that would help grow your business? *waves hand frantically* Me! Me! Pick me!
- Or, um, I don’t know, maybe just ideas about what’s for dinner, or fun things to do with my kids, or how we should remodel the basement, or what kind of art would look good in the living room, or where to go on vacation, or how that movie plot could be improved, or how people could be less annoying…. Yep, got ideas.
Ideas are no problem. A cinch.
So, creative folks, what’s the problem?
The problem is picking out the one idea you’re going to actually DO.
Yes, that’s the problem. Picking and Sticking. If we want to see ideas become reality, we have to Pick One and then Stick With It Until It’s Done. Hold the others. Put ‘em in a file, mental or digital or paper.
And here’s why we have to do this, this dreadful, draining, dry discipline of Picking and Sticking instead of just frolicking in a meadow full of more! amazing! ideas!
Where was I? (I got lost in that meadow metaphor.)
Oh right. WHY.
Because when you don’t follow through on at least one of your ideas every now and then, people stop listening to your ideas.
And when people stop listening to your ideas, you start thinking maybe all your ideas suck.
And when you start thinking that all your ideas suck, you stop having ideas. Instead, you just have feelings of general suck-i-tude.
And when you – a creative being, an idea generator – lose your ability to spin those ideas off, you lose your spark. You lose the verve, the drive, the get-up-and-go. You start thinking you’re not so creative after all. You’re not an idea person. You’re not a visionary. You’re not anybody special. And the suckitude gets stronger.
And soon, as the suckitude grows, you get into full-fledged depression. Your identity is gone. If you’re not good at ideas, at being creative, then who are you? You don’t know anymore. Since your identity is grounded in creativity, and your creativity seems to have been zapped from your body, you feel empty, and useless, and pointless, and blah. And you begin to think that they were right. I guess that’s why they stopped listening. I guess I’m not so good with ideas. I guess I should just find something else to do… and be.. but I don’t know… I just don’t care.
Oh, you poor lost hurting idea-barren creative soul! Get your hat on, get your butt off the chair, and make one of those ideas real!
Stop drowning yourself in the muddy ditch of self-pity. You literally have to lay down on your face and stick your nose in that stinky water to drown, and that’s just stupid, but that’s kind of where you are, isn’t it?
Look. Leave that mess for the angst-ridden emos. You: Be the grown-up.
Here is the cold hard truth of creative life, my friend.
If you want people to believe in your ideas, you have to make them real.
Other people can’t see the picture you see. They don’t have the visions. They have their own gifts, their own ideas, their own paths to walk. They believe in what they can see. Faithless, I know. But that’s the way it is.
If you want people to believe in your ideas, you have to make the ideas real.
So pick one, and get started on it. And stick with it until it’s done. Don’t go all ape over getting it perfect, either. Just get it done, and then show them.
Then take a little while to frolic in the idea-filled meadow before you pick the next one…