observe

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What you are about to read is a continuation from my series, The Creative Approach.

As you may remember, the three steps to a creative approach are observe, question, and respond. Let’s tackle that first one: observe.

What does it mean to observe? 

Open your eyes. Seeing those words, I can’t help but think of the opening lines in the song, “Always,” by Erasure, which is obviously about the endless struggle to be creative amidst a contrary society. Alright, it’s open to interpretation. 

Where were we … oh yes, observation! So, where exactly should you begin? Why not start at your own front door? Step outside and take in the world. Take off your headphones for a minute and look up from whatever mobile device you’ve been glued to. This is more than a brief glance—let it all in.

While you’re in observation mode, don’t worry too much about trying to get something out of it. Just let things come to you as you discover them. Notice all your senses: what are the sounds, smells and even tastes? Don’t go licking light poles though, people might call the authorities on you—trust me on this one. 

Consider, how do you feel when you first step outside? Refreshed by the first breath of a new day, reluctant to be shoved around in a tight crowd like cattle, dread for an oncoming storm? Is it hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or calm? What sorts of people or animals are nearby and what are they doing? What do nearby buildings or landscape features look like? All these things may seem mundane at first, but when you really stop to take notice and record, you will begin to see things you haven’t seen before.

One common struggle is to look outside oneself. We spend the vast majority of our time thinking internal thoughts about our own wants and needs and, because of it, our surroundings go unnoticed. 

To be creative, you first have to appreciate your environment. Your environment is where you can draw inspiration. To be stuck inside your head all the time is to miss out. As you begin to look around, you’ll be surprised how a shift of focus will change the way you see the world.

A friend of mine recently published his first children’s book, What Do You Notice, Otis? I love how it encourages kids to pause, observe, and interact with the world around them. Sadly, this has become a neglected practice for many a person (regardless of age) today.

Observation isn’t hard, most of us have just gotten out of practice. But anyone—even a distracted, oblivious guy like myself—can do it. 

For example, on my drive to work I’ve noticed many things I found peculiar: a man wearing blue latex gloves while driving his beat-up silver Honda, another guy holding his leaf blower upright and swinging it as if he were playing a guitar, a girl with a large brace on her leg following her friends who were all in fancy dresses, and a young man who didn’t appear to be homeless with a sign asking for college money. Each of those could be the makings of a good story.

Now it’s your turn; take a moment to pause and observe in the world around you, or, even better, schedule some time and find a place to so do. You might even want to take a journal along for recording purposes. 

When you stop to look around, you’ll discover a world which was previously hidden to you, though it may have been right under your nose (it also helps you avoid stepping into anything … unpleasant). This will set off the sparks to ignite your creative drive and get those wheels in your head turning right round. Besides all that, you’ll find observing can be very fun (I myself am an avid people-watcher).

 

Here’s looking at you kid,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you make it a point to stop and take in your surroundings? If so, what have you noticed lately? Let us know in the comments below.

approach

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Here you are at the first post in a four-part series, The Creative Approach. This is the first series I've done for this site, though probably not the last. Enjoy!

What is it to approach something, if not to draw closer? To approach requires movement. When you make an approach, you move away from one thing toward another. 

By taking a creative approach, you are allowing something to come to life: an idea, a thought, an inkling. You move away from an unfulfilled, unenthusiastic life toward one of purpose and excitement. It’s more than just a shift, it’s a move from nonexistence to existence, and that’s no small step, even for Neil Armstrong.

It all begins in the mind—your imagination. But how do you get there, from nothing to an idea, from a dead standstill to a sure-fire approach? Well, rocket boosters and 2,000 tons of fuel would help, but lets say you don’t have that on hand.

It starts with motion. Without this, nothing happens. 

Creativity often comes to us while we are actively doing something, not sitting around staring blankly at a screen with our minds in a cat-GIF induced coma. It also comes when we set circumstances in its favor. For example, when we aren’t distracted by one million to-do’s or news updates and instead allow our minds to wonder a bit. So the creative approach is not just about movement toward something, but also away from something. We move from distraction toward focus, from inactive toward active.

Newton knew well enough that objects without motion tend to stay that way while moving things keep on a-movin’! This is why starting is often the hardest part: it takes focused effort to get from stationary to mobile, to build momentum, but it’s no less necessary.

A story doesn’t begin until something happens—something that matters to the plot and character. Your creativity won’t kick in until you get your groove on and move on.

But how do you do it? How do you transition from still to loco-motion? How do you get the ball rolling, the crank turning and the hopper hopping—just how do you generate creative motion?

The creative approach is a three-step dance. The first step in the creative approach is to observe. Next, you ask questions based on your observations. Questions get the gears turning, which get you thinking in new ways. Finally, we come to the third and final step: respond.

Let me repeat all that, but with different words: you must first take a new angle, head in a new direction. After you do, questions allow you to look at the matter from a different perspective, or as they say in the biz, get a new view (no, they don’t actually say that in the biz, I don’t even think they say “the biz” in the biz, who are we even talking about?) and, once you’ve gained your new view, you’ve got to do something about it: you must respond.

Give it a try, take some time to examine the world around you, even if it’s just a 15-minute walk around the block, then ask some questions and, lastly, find a way to respond that is unique and engaging. Hopefully this is something you do naturally, but it never hurts to pick a time and place to focus specifically on this practice. As you’ll see, an approach isn’t all that hard once you make the first move.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, when was the last time you took a creative approach to something ordinary? Let us know in the comments below.

better or worse

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This likely falls into the category of TMI, but what they heck, I’m sharing it anyways. Not so long ago, I had the privileged experience of developing a most unpleasant rash (and not on purpose either). Over the matter of a few days, it got pretty bad. Thankfully, I was able to see a doctor and get needed medication to make it go bye-bye. Hey, I’ve got two kids now, I’m allowed to say things like that.

It wasn’t all bad though. I actually learned a couple things from the experience:

1. Rashes suck.

2. There is a big difference between better and worse, but it isn’t always obvious.

 

I imagine you’ve heard more than you bargained for about my personal health at this point (which is good, because I’m just about through telling), but my attitude and outlook changed remarkably when the rash (we’ll call him Sir Rashington) made the transition from getting worse to getting better.

As far as creativity goes, that tipping point between these two states of being is crucial, but it can also be nigh undetectable. At what point do you transition from a bad painter to a good one? Insert any other creative activity in there. I watched a video about Jim Carrey painting recently. Sometimes this tipping point may be obvious, but often it isn’t.

The transition from a poor skater to a mediocre one to an accomplished one happens slowly and incrementally, no one is a pro on the first go. Just like any athletic ability, learning a creative skill is rarely an overnight event. It takes time and effort.

Sir Rashington still looked pretty bad between days 5 and 6, but I was pleasantly surprised to find he hadn’t gotten worse. Even when improvement was obvious, he still didn’t look (or feel) all that great but I sure was happy things had taken a turn in the right direction.

Creatively speaking, It’s easy to get discouraged when we compare our progress to other, more accomplished people—your “better” may still look pretty terrible. But the point isn’t how it looks right now, but where it’s taking you and where you will end up. And getting better isn’t that hard, it comes down to a committed, regular practice.

The word Kaizen incorporates the Japanese ideal of continual improvement. It’s often used as a business model to eliminate waste and increase efficiency. I wonder how much such a mindset might help our own creative lives. How much progress might we make on a single creative activity if we committed to taking very small steps toward improvement in it every day? Why, it’s enough to give you the itch to try a little harder and do a little more on the next go-round.

Anyhow, thanks for suffering with me through a somewhat gross subject. I hope you, like me, can rejoice in the small signs that you’re getting just a little bit better than before—especially where skin conditions are concerned.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

progress

One key factor I’ve found in every game I’ve enjoyed is a sense of progress. As time passes, the player becomes stronger, better equipped, more resourceful, more capable, and just plain better. 

There is one game I can think of with an exception. In the mobile game Sword & Sworcery, your character actually loses total health points through the adventure, due to increased exhaustion. It’s an interesting twist, but even though your character, the Scythian, becomes weaker and more easily defeated, she still progresses in other ways such as learning songs, unlocking new areas of the map, and defeating powerful triangles (no joke).

Without progress, I imagine a game would get dull quickly, since you'd just be doing the same thing over and over with little change. It’s like getting stuck in a grind.

Progress is the evidence that our efforts produce results.

Ok, we’ve talked about games, now back to the Bat Cave, umm, I mean, creativity

What does progress look like for the creative? It’s a steady shift toward improvement. It could be getting better at a skill, like painting or playing piano. It may be gaining further understanding of how something works, such as a circuitboard, or building a connection with another creative person of influence. It might be learning more about a problem, such as why a town’s water source has become contaminated.

Anything that allows you more opportunity to practice creativity is progress.

But here’s the rub (is it just me, or are we both thinking of a delicious dry-rub on some tender barbecue meats right now? Oh, it’s just me, right) progress can be slow. Sometimes it can feel like you’ve put in many, many hours into a particular creative pursuit, like balloon animals, and you still only know how to make a wiener dog. All the while, the bunny remains hopelessly out of your grasp (in a very real sense).

Yes, it can be frustrating when progress is slow and you feel no better today than yesterday or even last week, but I’ve found as long as you stick to a goal with determination, you will eventually get there. It’s only when you stop trying that progress (and that elusive bunny balloon) becomes unobtainable. There is something valuable I've learned about progress:

Slow progress beats no progress every time.

Much like the Scythian from Sword & Sworcery, we are faced with setbacks and weakness, such as sickness or the effects of aging, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to make creative progress. I urge you, press onward and, at last, that bunny of progress will be yours. Then you can move on to something like this. That may be a very high bar to reach for. Hey, just take it one step (or balloon) at a time.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, have you been frustrated by a lack of progress? What was your response? Let us know in the comments below.

 

competition

I’ve just recently had a son come out of the womb and into the world. He’s our second child now and you’d better believe I’m one proud papa. Yeah, It’s pretty awesome. I must say, his arrival has sparked many a thought about life, fatherhood, and even creativity into my sleep-deprived mind.

One thing I’ve considered is how his relationship with his older sister will develop. I think back on my own relationships with my siblings and how they have changed over the years. I hope the two will be good friends and that, together, they’ll be better humans than they would have been apart.

This got me thinking about competition, specifically the creative sort. I think competition can be a very healthy thing, but it can also be harmful with the wrong motivation. It’s good for kids to compete against each other; it pushes them to try harder and do better than they would have otherwise.

Competition teaches the victor the reward of hard work and the defeated how to deal with failure. It provides an excellent opportunity for everyone involved to learn about good sportsmanship. 

But I’ve seen many adults take competition to a nasty place, where they are driven by a constant need to prove themselves, to outdo everyone else—a place where they are never satisfied with what they have but must continue to outdo themselves or else feel like an utter failure. They live by an impossible standard. This attitude causes people to sacrifice their own standards and integrity in order to win, it's why the use of performance enhancers like steroids has become such an issue in professional sports.

The harmful sort of competition can be just as prevalent in creative circles. Writers, cooks, film directors, musicians, fashion designers, etc. can get to a place where they must do better than everyone else to prove their self-worth. This sort will never pass an opportunity to attack their competition. They will cheat to get ahead if that’s what it takes. In the end, such behavior hurts creativity, rather than promotes it.

It’s like being a hoarder with your creativity, unwilling to share, in case there won’t be enough appreciation and admiration to go around. Just like hoarders, such a life becomes disgusting quickly and inevitably drives others away—not just the competitors, but also allies and friends.

Instead, why not share what you have and encourage your peers to do the same? Teach someone less experienced than you and speak well of your competitors. The world is big enough for every creative to find an audience. As a writer, the more I work on writing well and helping others to do the same, the better writing will be available for readers and, as a result, we'll discover more readers who enjoy our works. It's a self-sustaining goal.

Yes, creative competition is great. I think C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were good examples of this. But, just as in their case, creativity should be seen as a team effort, one based on encouraging one another to press upward and onward to become more creative.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you find competition to be a boon or a hinderance to your creativity? Let us know in the comments below.

story from a word - part 2

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It’s been a while since I offered up one of these. Based on a writing assignment from my class with David Farland, the goal is to write a brief narrative paragraph based on one word. You may recall my last one, Horse.

Without further ado, here it is, story from a word, Part Deux.

House

To say the building was dilapidated would be a gross understatement. Unlivable would be closer to the truth. Dangerous, now that was a fine word. Its moss-covered roof sagged so low on one side that it could be reached from the ground without the aid of a ladder or step-stool. The glass in its windows had been punched out like decayed teeth long ago. Even the boards once nailed over the windows had now fallen off, leaving the building with an eerie, vacant expression. Most of the steps leading to the entrance were either broken in half or missing altogether. A pathetic pile of bricks now slouched where a chimney once stood. Tangled vines criss-crossed up the rotted-out paneled siding of the house, pulling it down into the swampy earth. Long ago, the building had been constructed from the trees of the bayou and now, it seemed, the bayou wanted its lumber back. And to think, a family once called it home.

 

Give it a try: write your own narrative paragraph based on the word, "house," then share it here. I'd love to see what you come up with.

how to feel

One of the biggest most reoccurring questions I have had in my head for the past year or so is this: 

“How am I supposed to feel?”

As I’m sure you’re well aware, the news of the world can leave us numb.

Why, when I first started composing this post, I had just read about the Cambodian genocide, DNA hacking and designer babies, the sexual exploitation crisis in the Philippines, massive air pollution in India and China. And that was all on the front page of one website.

I've let this post sit for a while. What could I say? What is there to say in light of all the constant tragedy all over the globe, all the unsettling trends?

But I think if there is any answer to my question, keeping silent and shutting up is not it. So now you’re reading this.

I often consider: does knowing all the bad going on in the world actually help? Does it improve the many global problems? Does it stem the tides of injustice?

For the most part, I don’t believe so. But, on the other hand, can we wisely ignore it all and just keep our heads buried in our own little worlds? Doesn't seem right either.

There is a great quandary when it comes to the news. You can hardly live with it yet you shouldn’t remain ignorant to it.

So where is the line? What am I, as an adult and citizen of a country with significant global power, responsible to know and care about?

I recently watched this video of Trevor Noah from The Daily Show responding to the Philando Castile verdict.

Trevor said it broke him. I wanted to be, felt I should be broken too. In honesty, I think I’m just numb. I was saddened, for sure, and I can’t stop thinking about it, but I was not broken.

It seems every day there is a new tragedy to behold. How can a person take it all in? What is the appropriate response?

As Sufjan Stevens sings in The Only Thing

"Should I tear my eyes out now, before I see too much?"

I read this article a while back titled The Problem of Caring. The author describes how she has gone between seasons of being intensely focused on the news and then shutting it off completely along with the consequences of each.

From the article: 

Saul Bellow in 1973: “Our media make crisis chatter out of news and fill our minds with anxious phantoms of the real thing,” setting off “endless circuits of anxious calculation.” He was writing this in 1973.
This gap between information and insight, between awareness and empathic action, it turns out, is critical.
For anyone with a serviceable internet connection— the phantoms have multiplied a million fold, the circuit expanded to new dimensions. When I read stories of suffering, I still feel something. It seems inhuman not to. At the same time, I’m more aware than ever of how little my feeling is worth, of how, if we are to truly keep alive the conditions that make ethical life possible— it is not empathy that’s needed, but insight, organization, and action.

The author concludes, “I wondered if the sharing of stories and honest dialogue and saying the difficult thing, not just on Facebook but to actual other human beings, is a small but real antidote to fear.”

So where am I in all this? Still figuring it out.

I think the author makes a good point, that we need to have more open conversations with face-to-face people who care. 

But I do believe we need empathy, just as much as insight, organization, and action. True empathy is what leads to those other three.

That is the difference between sympathy and empathy. The former causes you to feel something but the latter moves you to identify with the other, to share in part with the person who is hurting.

More than hearing about hurting people and tragedy, we should aim to be around them, to identify with them. Not exactly a fun goal; no one wants to be hurt. Whether intentional or not, we can lock ourselves in to our safe and comfortable lives, away from the hurt and brokenness of the world. We can run as far and as fast away from it as possible.

It takes serious effort to spend time with hurting people. It's not our natural inclination and it's not easy. But unless we're willing to do it, I don't think we can be whole, I don't think we can feel the way we should.

Only when we are around people who are broken, can our own hearts, numbed from the tidal waves of bad news, actually be broken in the way a heart should be.

As my pastor Rudy once said,

“When you’re never around people, your heart will never break.”

I originally wanted to title this post, When you feel too much. But I remembered that’s very close to the name of a book by Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms. His  organization assists people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.

I appreciate people like Jamie Tworkowski or Jeremy Courtney from Preemptive Love Coalition, who work on ground zero of the refugee crisis. They are making a difference, shining light on the dark.

Sure, we may not all be called to start a big nonprofit in order to help the hurting, but we all can reach one hurting person. Anyone can give a hug, buy a lunch, or invite them over just to talk.

I still often don’t know how I’m supposed to feel, but I know who I am supposed to love, and that is every person I meet.

Yeah, it’s a very tall order, but I’m working on it. How about you?

on time

Time is a funny thing, and I don’t necessarily mean humorous. 

It sneaks up on you, surprises you and shouts, “gotcha!”

Time, you little trickster, quit doing that!

Yes, we have many expressions for the way we feel about time. It flies. It marches on. Sometimes it stands still. 

Doctor Who calls it “A big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff,” as if that makes any sense at all. Guess it’s a Time Lord thing.

What I find funny, or rather amusing, about time is how very predictable it is and yet how often we are caught off guard by its passing.

A younger version of me used to view time as an enemy. Sometimes he, I mean I, still do, ahem, does. Man this time thing can get confusing fast.

But time is not the enemy, it’s a resource. An extremely valuable one at that. Since time travel does not, to my knowledge, exist (ok, so perhaps it does, but we’re all traveling forward at basically the same rate), we can’t get back the time which has passed. Our time is limited and passing. This is both a problem and a challenge.

Come to think of it, this very well may be my first major misunderstanding: thinking time somehow belongs to me. I act as if I’m owed a certain amount of time just like a paycheck for services rendered.

But no child, woman, or man owns time. Except maybe Gandalf, who claims a wizard is never early or late but arrives precisely when he means to. Sounds to me like someone’s playing fast and lose with the space-time continuum.

Since I’m neither a Time Lord nor Gandalf, all I can do is be thankful for the time I’m allowed. 

The philosopher Heraclitus saw time as a river, which always changes. He made the observation that you could never step in the same river twice. Clearly he ripped that straight off of Disney’s Pocahontas. 

In his own words:

“Everything changes and nothing stands still.”
“You could not step twice into the same river.”

As I see it, time is something we must aim to use wisely and well, before it slips away. The river flows on whether or not you dip your feet in it. Sometimes it carries you away.

We can become so anxious about time that we become obsessed with it, making frantic attempts to stem its flow. This is where FOMO, or fear of missing out, comes from. We feel the need to keep up with everything all the time. But instead of using it with the powerful and direct force of a firehose it’s more like a bucket we’re sloshing about, all the while just dampening the ground a bit.

I’ll admit, I can become so concerned with all the things I might possibly miss out on that I don’t really commit fully to anything. No bueno.

I’ve found the better and more helpful attitude is, now or never.

If I can’t commit to a thing now or at least dedicate a specific time to it, then the thing may very well never ever get done. Yes, it sounds a touch dramatic, but think of all the stuff you’ve truly intended to do “someday” but never even started. There is no such thing as someday.

As creatives, we must be people of the moment, employing and enjoying the time we’re living, right now, in the immediate present. Because, whether we use it or not, the time will vanish like water on a hot desert road.

Hey, who’s thirsty?

 

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.”
~ Heraclitus

hustle and bustles

There is some advice I hear a lot from creative professionals and other entrepreneurs: 

HUSTLE 

I will admit, it’s important to hustle, or, as many of them say, to have hustle. 

Many a creative has been known to drag their feet from time to time. This might be due to a insecurity, anxiety, distraction, or just plain old laziness. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to avoid the creative things we know we ought to do.

On the flip side, when we hustle, we keep the magic of momentum moving in our favor. We get things done and it feels good so we get more things done. In that case, we’ve got to keep the hustlin’ and bustlin’ cranked to the max.

But could there be a drawback to this frantic break-neck pace we adopt? Shouldn’t we also slow down, relax and take in the moment or something?

I remember seeing an interview from a writing business course where the guy being interviewed, who was skyping in on his cell phone, was also doing a workout, gathering things around his hotel, scheduling a meeting, hailing a cab and then riding off to his other meeting.

Some may say he was a living example of what it means to hustle—he was certainly a proponent of it based on his advice during the interview. And sure, he did give some good advice in his hurried talk, but I also found the whole thing stressful. I know it’s something I would never do.

If someone personally invited me to an interview for their business course, I would schedule the time to talk with them as a person ought to: one on one, with some measure of respect for the other party and for the potential listeners. I don’t care how “big” I get, if I don’t have the time for that, then I just wouldn’t do the interview.

The hustle mindset can be helpful at times: it keeps us productive. When you’re constantly on the move, you don’t have time to stop and worry about your shortcomings or feel sorry for yourself. You’ve got things to do, after all. There’s no stopping you now.

But here’s the drawback: when all we do is hustle, it’s very easy to leave other people behind. 

Often I find my pursuit of a creative writing career is at odds with my role as a husband and father. It is almost impossible to do both at the same time and if I attempt that, my performance for each of them suffers. 

I’ve learned (and am learning) each requires their own appropriate time and each deserves my full attention. 

For me, family always comes first. I have to be ready to stop whatever I’m doing and give my wife or children the care and attention they deserve from me. This extends to the other people in my life as well.

Creativity, after all, is for others to enjoy. If we are too busy following our creative pursuits, we can trample over the very people who might appreciate our creativity or help us along the way.

Notice hustle and hostile are almost the same word? Maybe there's a reason for that. Our speedy approach to life can eventually lead to other's hurt.

So yes, you should hustle when the time is right, but make sure you take time to pump the breaks now and then and share some quality time with the people in your path. Often that little chat with a friend, or word of encouragement will be all the motivation I need to get back on track and hustle some more.

Alright, I admit it, this post has absolutely nothing to do with the female dress-wear known as bustles. So sorry to disappoint you all. In case you were wondering, it also lacks anything about the Belgium city of Brussels or the sprouts they are so famous for. Well, what can I say? It’s probably not easy to hustle while wearing a bustle in Brussels, but maybe you should try it and let me know how it goes.

momentum

This week, I’d like to share an excerpt from my upcoming book, Idea to Done:

 

As the story goes, back in the day an old man sat next to a friend at a railway station, looking at a steam engine for the first time. He peered far down the tracks at the many box cars in tow and shook his head. Steam began to shoot up in the air, and the old man muttered to his friend, “They’ll never get it started.” 

But the whistle blew and the powerful engine started to slowly turn its wheels and pull the heavy load behind it. Before long, the train was gone; all that remained was a lingering cloud of smoke. 

“Well?” his friend asked, nudging the old man. 

The man shrugged. “They’ll never get it stopped.”

 

The beginning of a project is one of the toughest moments because you have little progress to back you up and a lot of work ahead of you—your momentum is at an all-time low. However, the beginning is also when you have a lot of excitement and expectation to push you onward. Think of this as your steam, slowly turning those wheels to get you chugging down the tracks.

As a project continues, momentum builds and tasks become easier. Yes, the initial excitement dwindles with the passage of time and in the presence of challenges and setbacks, but you soon will have momentum pushing you on. Excitement comes and goes, but without momentum, you’re dead in the water, cold on the tracks, a mound in the mud, as mobile as a mountain.

Momentum is motion, and motion leads to progress. No momentum, no progress. What I’m saying in so many words is momentum is a critical element for the completion of any project. The problem is, there are many things we can do to inhibit our momentum or even lose it. The fastest train will eventually stop if the engine ceases to pull it along. 

Here’s why: momentum requires maintenance.

It takes work to gain, but it also must be maintained. So what are some things you can do to build and keep your magnificent momentum?

 

  • Prioritize your workflow from easy to difficult. When it comes to order of operation, start with the simplest, easiest thing and work your way toward the more difficult and complex. If you begin with all the hardest parts, you can quickly get overwhelmed and lose the drive to continue. As you finish smaller tasks, the larger ones begin to look more feasible. 
  • Turn a task into a process whenever possible. If you find yourself repeating the same steps over and over, it’s time to make it a process. Can it be automated within a program or application? Can someone else help you with it so you can spend your time on the parts only you can do? Can you make it part of your regular routine, so you get it done quickly and save your time and energy for more demanding tasks?
  • Practice, practice, practice. Momentum comes from repetition. The more you try something, the better you will become and the more realistic your expectations will be about your next attempt. Make sure to track the results of your practice. Whether you’re learning how to bake a triple-layer wedding cake, prepping your dog for a show, or writing code for a mobile game, even a few repeated attempts can lead to great improvement—recognizing this only motivates you to continue your efforts.
  • Don’t stop. Every time you quit, it’s harder to go back. Whenever you set a project aside, you end up having to retrace your steps in order to get back to where you were. To prevent this, work on or think about your project a little every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes, it will go a long way toward maintaining your momentum.

 

The magic of momentum can turn a ton of motionless steel into a speeding locomotive. Every time you check another task off your list, every time you take one more step toward the finish, you’ll have more momentum for the next push and the following one. 

Yes, momentum takes effort to gain, but it pays off big-time in the long run. Without it, you’ll feel more like a runner going against the wind with a parachute behind you—not the best way to go, unless you’re really into resistance training.

With momentum on your side, there’s just no stopping you. So get those big wheels of momentum a-turnin’ and keep your creative fuel a-burnin’.

 

Creatively yours,

A.P. Lambert

 

Hey Creatives, do you find momentum hard to build, or do you find yourself coasting once you have it? Let us know in the comments below.