Creatives are awesome!
Add Jesus to the recipe and you have multiplied awesomeness thats off the scale.
So why do so many Christian creatives struggle with their creative nature and allow the negative traits to overshadow their limitless potential?
I could dive into a huge psychological treatise unearthing numerous excuses for our procrastinating ways and incredible unfounded insecurities. Or I could point to one key that can lay many of your nagging fears to rest.
Be a finisher!
Creatives are notoriously great at beginnings. We love the creative buzz of new projects and stimulating intoxication of novelty – but the pathway behind us is strewn with projects that were half-baked, half-finished, part-done and not quite there yet.
How do I know? That’s a road that we all travel to one degree or another.
The trouble is that unfinished projects are unfruitful endeavours. And unfruitful endeavors leave us disappointed and barren. They leave us with nothing but uncertain proof of our laziness, inability, insecurity or fear of exposure. Each unfinished project drives another stake in the ground that speaks to us every time we get to the line of resistance next time around. That awful self-critical dragon sweeps in every time, and feeds on our failure.
The antidote to feeling like a fake and failure? Finishing!
5 Ways To Finish
Rolling into December I laughed with the lady serving me in the coffee shop at my local gym about the spike of activity that must occur in the gym every January – for about three weeks. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
Good intentions it seems only stretch at the most to the first quarter and then fizzle to the usual inactivity and growing sense of inadequacy.
Problem is, the same cycle can occur so easily in our everyday life and pursuit of purpose.
We need to build muscle, and just like the gym you have to apply some inner strength to make it happen, before you will every enjoy outer reward.
With an eye on your creative projects and publishing goals here are five simple recommendations to help you build your finishing muscles…
1. Don’t Overstretch
One of the main culprits that stalls our finishing ability is the temptation to seek to save the universe rather than just save yourself.
We set goals that are so lofty we can never reach them without a lifetime of sacrifice.
I don’t want to dissuade you from thinking big (we need to have ambitious plans and dreams) but too often we can fail to finish because we set the finish line so far in the distance that we never reach the line and actually hit the publish button.
Instead of the epic novel in three volumes, how about starting with a short 10K story? Or even an article on a blog.
Start with achievable, reachable, possible, wonderfully attainable goals. Each win will become the next stepping stone carrying you forward to that BIG DREAM you carry in your heart. The stepping stones are the bridge to your victory however, and the very best way to build your creative finisher muscle is to resist the temptation to try and lift a metaphoric 5000 kgs. Start with 10kg and go from there.
2. Simplify Your Palette of Projects
Another killer habit of folks like you and I (I include you because most of us are like the rest of us) is to have such a smorgasbord of projects cooking on the hotplate that its impossible to give proper attention to any one of them.
I am a firm believer in multiple streams of income, but not at the expense of your health and sanity!
Some entreprenurial creative types are so snowed under with ideas and projects underway that they forget what they actually set out to do in the first place.
Applying the ONE THING principle as mentioned and unpacked in my Productivity For Indie Authors book will really help if this is one of your ailments.
3. Habit Beats Discipline
Habit helps remove the roadblocks that discipline struggles with. Once I made the decision to run to the gym every weekday morning at the same time each day, and do a very realistic 30 minute round of exercises, my pain was eased. So long as I was waiting until I felt like going, or looked for a time that was convenient, guess what? No gym. As soon as you bake in a habit, and remove the decision making process, what may have begun as a discipline soon becomes part of your every day.
The same can be true for your creative endeavours. Choose a time, a place, and a REALISTIC DAILY time frame and you will be amazed at the progress you will make. A hour of writing or creative activity each day is far better than 7 or 8 hours when you feel like it.
As some wise person once said (I saw it on Facebook so it must be true) – Success is 10% inspiratuon, 90% perspiration.
Just set yourself to DO THE WORK, whether you feel like it or not. Habit, same time, same place, will build your finisher muscles just like my rippling biceps (he said, wishfully).
4. Kill Your Perfectionistic Tendencies
There is only one place for perfectionism – somewhere other than your creative process. Preferably as far away as possible.
It may hurt to swallow this next line, but GOOD ENOUGH IS GOOD ENOUGH.
Do you honestly think I would ever have even started writing this article if I thought is needed to be absolutely 100% perfect in every aspect before making it public?
I am not suggesting throwing rubbish out to the world, but don’t keep the gold hidden away forever just because there’s some dirt that needs digging to get to it.
As you exercise and practice in public, your skill will improve and perfect.
If you have not done so already, hop over to http://indieauthor.com/hearthecall and sign up – on day one you will get my take on Christian Creativity, but on day two as a bonus you will also get a free copy of Published Is Better Than Perfect. This little book is a pill that attacks perfectionism, without compromising your high standards.
5. Don’t Overcomplicate Things
Some folks allow bumps and holes in the road to finishing, stop them in their tracks. It could be getting hung up about all the technical aspects of a project, or spending inordinate amounts of time beautifying a document before you let it fly. Its actually intersting to watch how we each procrastinate in going public, and use all sorts of tweaking and twiddling as a valid excuse.
Truth be told, some of the ways we do things are not as efficient or as easy they can be. We overcomplicate things to such a degree that we get so tied up we give up.
Don’t over complicate! Keep things as simple as you can.
Look for the simplest way to make your creative vision a reality. If you don’t know how to do something try the fount of all practical wisdom, YouTube, and find out how.
Most processes are actually very simple. They only appear complex because they are unfamiliar to us. If you will go through the temporary pain of learning a new skill that will serve you forever thereafter it is time well spent.
Look for way to simplify so the speedbumps are not just navigated, but removed entirely.
And if you can’t do something yourself for whatever reason? Find someone who can.
I run a six figure fiction publishing enterprise from my humble laptop (the same one I am writng this article on now), and I have never once written a fiction book in my life. I don’t even read fiction (except for research purposes).
Nothing is complicated to someone who knows how. And there is always someone who knows how!
If a sticky issue is stopping you finishing, find someone on Fiverr.com or Upwork.com who can do it on your behalf.
The Greatest Finisher Ever
This article was actually inspired by my devotions this morning. It made me think about the masterpiece our Father is working on.
“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” (Philippians 1:6 AMP)
God, our Maker and Pop, is the ultimate Finisher.
Elsewhere the Scriptures tell us that Jesus is the “Author (perfector, finisher) of our faith”. Hebrews 12:2
He is developing a good work in you, perfecting not only your personality and character, but also the work of faith He has called you to accomplish.
Every day He is diligently bringing His creative projects to perfection.
Thankfully He does not give up.
He will never shelve you.
You are like your Father.