As you go about your day, do you think about what you need to create your next masterpiece?
Many artists do. When do you find inspiration throughout your daily tasks? Some creative folks sit down in the wee hours of the morning and pound out their ideas before usual responsibilities and thoughts take them through their day; while others let their day percolate through their ideas, and see what shakes out at the end. Either way they must gather their ideas in some meaningful way.
Creative people generally have lots of ideas to toss about in their heads. They have a goldmine so to speak. However, any expert miner can tell you there are good mine shafts and many others that aren’t worth the effort in which to dig around. Some of those mine shafts can be shifty and dangerous to poke about with layers of junk that gets in the way. However, there are a few that are rich with deep strong veins of the good stuff.
How can you find the really good creative gold nuggets? You have to weed out the mediocre ones. This is part of the work every creative person must learn to master. Great artists have reached their mastership by practicing this discipline. You have to recognize the great from the good, and sift out the lame. There are three files in which you can place your ideas: Definitely Pursue, Maybe, Dreaming About. You’ll probably never run out of ideas. File them quickly so you can stay focused on the great ones.
How will you know which idea is great, good or mediocre? Use this three-step criteria list of questions to decide where you’ll file each idea.
- Do I have the desire?
- Do I have the skill?
- Do I have what I need to do to create and finish this idea?
If you have clear-cut positive answers to all of these questions place your idea in the Definitely Pursue file. If you’re only positive about some of the questions put your idea in the Maybe file. Put the rest in your Dreaming About file.
If you have two of the three answers, you have Maybe proposition about your idea. Most creative folks have lots of these potential works of art or creative project ideas. At some point you’ll need to weed them out. If you really have the passion to make your idea come to life then take a hard look at the rest of what you have and will need to create it. Do you still have the desire to pull that stuff together? When you’re sure that you have the necessary means to create your idea move it into your Definitely Pursue file.
Why would you want to keep your mediocre ones? You’ll want to keep them because some day the stuff you’re Dreaming About might turn into something. You could get inspiration for greater ones or combine them in new ways, so keep a quick note and file one for each idea for a while longer, but don’t waste much time dwelling on them.
As you weed you will also need to prioritize your best ideas because no one can create everything they actually want to do. This is the real challenge of an artist. While you may be ready to execute your definite ideas, ask yourself this: Is this what I want to give to the world? If it is, you’ll need to start your specific actionable plan to create it. If it isn’t refile or let it go. Remember there is great gold and then fools gold.
Finding the best fit physical filing system to store your ideas is also important, and the subject of another post. There’s an endless supply of systems to choose from; just make sure you have one that is useable. After you set up your filing system, every time you have an idea use the 3 step criteria questionnaire to sort and file. Now get to work on your Definitely Pursue ideas.
Read more posts by Sandy Nelson, artist, creativity and life purpose coach, speaker and inspirational writer. Sandy blogs for JenningsWire.