In the life of a creative there are two opposing forces. In one corner is procrastination and his tag team mate, perfectionism. In the other, inspiration and his/her coach called faith. Many a writer or artist has fallen prey to the raging battles that these inward foes wage with one another. When the final bell sounds the outcome of their skirmishes can determine whether your value goes unrealised or not.
Truth is, most of us do not want to find ourselves in the midst of an ongoing battle. Too many potential writers, product creators and artists have backed off and stepped out of the ring. The questioning of self and the quest for perfection has left their dreams in shreds on the canvas floor.
But then there are the brave and the bold. At least that’s how it looks. One of my favourite definitions of courage is that it is not so much the absence of fear, rather it is acting despite your fears – standing in the face of your insecurities and stepping forward, even with trembling steps.
Here are 3 ways that I have helped the inward wrestling turn to my favor – how I have lifted the hand of inspiration in victory (at least until next time there’s a rematch).
3 Ways To Overcome Your Fears and Create Something Magnificently Imperfect
1. Recognise that the process is just as important as the product
I witness this all the time. People get so hung up on perfecting the product or publication that they never actually pluck up the courage to publish. Face the fact that perfection is an illusion. It is an unattainable goal that none have ever reached. Good enough really is good enough. We can strive for excellence, but at the end of the day 80% good enough and published is way better than 98% perfect and sitting on your hard drive scratching around for that final 2% tweak.
At the end of the day, there is much to be gained from the process that carries a project from conception to publication. The creative lessons we learn are not complete until the product is in the hands of someone other than ourselves.
These lessons are only learned when we step beyond our comfort zone and put ourselves out there in rejection’s pathway.
2. Boil your idea down to an MVP
Take the idea you have and boil it down to an MVP – a Minimum Viable Product or Publication. That way instead of pouring all of your short resources into one make-or-break novel, or gargantuan online course, you first get to test the market.
I have made mistakes in the past where I poured a great deal of time and energy into creating a product, or writing a book, only to realise to my dismay that the was no audience for them (or that I did not have the means to reach the audience sufficiently). Sigh! That’s a tough lesson and one I don’t want to repeat too often.
It is much less intimidating to come up with an idea and consider how you can, with the least resistance and minimal effort, create and publish something that will bring value to an audience and readership, yet not demand that you lay your life on the line to give it to them.
Instead of writing a 600 page novel, publish a series of short stories. Let those stories find their readers and determine from there whether the investment required to pen an epic is really worth your time and effort.
Instead of a comprehensive 16 module, 23 hour, in-depth video tutorial teaching all the bells and whistles, how about a one hour training that focuses with expert precision on just one important aspect of your chosen subject. Create several of these over time, if the audience clearly enjoys your tuition, bundle them into your ‘one course to rule them all’ at a later date.
3. Consider Your Days
The Bible (yep, I believe that the Bible is the manual for the best life we can live) encourages us to count our days.
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12, New Living Translation
Take stock of the value of every moment you have in this planet. Each day is one more opportunity to make a dent in the universe. To affect a change. What legacy do you want to leave?
The fact is, your legacy begins today. What you produce now to help and entertain others will become the body of work that you leave to the world at your passing. How many people check out with all of their rich experience and value still locked inside? All that has been placed in you to share with others needs to find expression before it is too late.
If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for others. Not putting yourself out there is not only selfish, it is robbing from future generations the unique inheritance of wisdom and experience only you can leave behind.
I ponder often the simple reality that what I put off until tomorrow may never see the light if day. If I don’t make the decision to disciple myself to write at this moment, to produce and publish today, the body of work I could develop over the coming years will remain lean and starved.
182,500 Words Later
Throw your fears to the wind and do it anyways. Just 500 words a day, and 365 days from now 182,500 words will have been left for generations to come.
Make that movie. Create that course. Post to that blog. Create that website. Publish that book. Sing that song.
Don’t hesitate. Seize the day. Quit vacillating. Stop with your excuses.