Bringing a Creative Idea or Project to Life
Congratulations! You’ve had an idea, a brainstorm, or a spark of inspiration and you’re ready to start sharing your genius with others. It may be at this point, perhaps after blurting it out to the first person nearest to you, that you realise you have no idea how to go about implementing your idea or starting your project. Embarking on a project of any scale when it involves something you care about is always scary, it is easy to be set-back by feeling overwhelmed with the seemingly insurmountable to-do list ahead of you. That being said, there are a few core tools that you can slowly accumulate to be fast-approaching creative or industrial success.
The Bare-Boned Basics
Not all projects are created with equal amounts of elbow grease, but every creative project and idea could use these 5 essential tools for success.
Whatever it is that you want to create, either you or someone on your team needs to be able to visualise the end result clearly. It is much easier to embark on something and take leadership if you know what it should look, hear and feel like, and know where it’s going. Aspects of the original design of your idea will of course change along the way but ultimately, vision is one of the most important stepping stones to creating your project. You will need the vision to be able to make the difficult compromises and defining decisions because you’ll know what works and what’s essential to maintaining the style, consistency and integrity of your core idea. Unfortunately, this means thinking through all of the negative possible outcomes so you can address challenges before they derail everything, but it also means that you’ll have a firm confidence and sense of purpose in making important decisions about your project, and following through when it gets tough.
There’s no avoiding it. As exciting, logical or ‘fool-proof’ your idea may be, pitching it, promoting it and trusting yourself and others to put in the hard work takes faith. You will need to believe in your project, in the end, the result being a success (however you see it happening), and believe in your ability to build it. This means deciding on the right people to help and being confident enough to choose them based on skills and compatibility with your project, rather than choosing your friends. It also means having enough confidence and faith in your own vision and abilities to know when your loved one’s advice is helpful, or misguided. You need to be an advocate for what you’re doing, able to justify it in the face of naysayers, and defend your choices to those who may try to be helpful, but aren’t as emotionally or financially invested in your project.
It’s all well and good to ‘wing it’ sometimes in life, but when it comes to a project or idea that you’re invested in and care about, a lack of planning, organisation and deadlines can sometimes leave amazing project ideas stagnant in their conception phase. Breaking your idea or project aim into smaller, more manageable and time-focussed goals is sometimes the only real way of getting your visionary and courageous idea off the ground. Have a separate method of planning for your project, (like a book-style planner or calendar), and designate consistent time on which to work on it at regular intervals. Set small milestones and tasks to complete within the project along this schedule, and if you stick to it for even 50% of the allocated time, you’re 100% more likely to get things done. The myths surrounding the classical cannon ways that creative people managed their work are probably doing your own work a disservice if looking up to other artists, authors and visionaries is your thing. Don’t justify your lack of motivation (fear) and self-doubt by telling yourself that Orson Welles only wrote one sentence a day, or Hemmingway only wrote when he was drunk, because it’s probably not true and definitely impractical. Learn to organise and discipline yourself just a little, and you’ll be paving a path ahead for yourself with achievement, even if it’s just the little things.
Some people may think they can get along with their ideas based on faith and sheer dumb luck. Though this may be true in the occasional case, it is usually still a result of hard work and commitment, and many weeks, months, or even years of perfecting their skills in whatever they are doing. Many people who count themselves as lucky are optimists, who have actually already put in the hard yards committing to their project in an unconscious sense. If your project needs help, whether it’s financial support or people-power, you need to be able to answer questions about your idea’s trajectory and show your dedication and passion to your project and yourself. There’s no point pitching a program to implement at work or in an organised group if you don’t plan to be around when it’s realised. If you need to allocate aspects of your project to others, make sure you educate them in your vision and act as a leader and a guide so that you can trust that they’ll know how to maintain the integrity of your vision. If you waver in your decision-making or seem cavalier in accepting feedback and improving the project you are likely to lose much-needed support. If you are unable to believe in and commit to your idea, why should anyone else?
Having a trustworthy, caring and honest bank of support for you on a personal and professional level is one of the most valuable assets to the success of your projects. Everyone has days when they doubt themselves, the credibility of their ideas and the do-ability of their projects. But having the supportive voices of loved ones and valued advice from leaders in your industry, and mentors in your life will eventually far-outweigh the negative voices of self-doubt and low confidence. Your support network needs to want what’s best for you, give advice and not care too deeply if you take it, and offer support out of faith, not bad advice out of tall-poppy-syndrome. At the end of the day, if you believe in yourself, others will too. And if you share your vision, others are more likely to see it. Find people that both share your views, and have perspectives that respectfully differ from yours so that you can learn and grow, and develop your project with a variety of perspectives that create depth, and ultimately broaden your vision.
There are many challenges involved in embarking on a creative project. Whatever entrepreneurial ventures or ideas you may spark up, adversities can arise with the purpose of standing in your way. Things like fear, money, and logistical elements of your idea can hinder it. But, everyone with passion, a bright idea and a will to execute it deserves to know what it’s like to bring to life their own creative project. However small or grand your idea may be, the above are a few of the constants I have learned along the way while navigating this rocky path myself. The truth is if you have a vision, courage, an iota of organisational skills, commitment to yourself and a strong support network, you can pretty much achieve anything in life.
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