When we aspire to do something creative, we often end up waiting more than we should.
We wait for the right time, wait for an insight, wait for access to the right people or tools, we wait until the opportunity is right, or wait for permission.
Results don’t come from waiting though.
All waiting does is put the competition in front of you, invite doubts, and build on the stress of having to wait more or falling behind schedule.
So, starting today, no more waiting. Even doing something as simple as thinking deeply about a project is better than just waiting.
In-fact: if you feel as though you’re waiting for something, spend that time at least thinking on the project. Why? Well, when tackling a new project or problem, the most important aspect of that problem is that it’s going to be poorly defined.
So, while we wait for inspiration or motivation (or the ever-looming deadline) we wind up cutting down our ability to really understand what it is we’re trying to work on; or, worse, we fall into the trap of going with our first instinct or falling back onto what we already know will work, the results being subpar and certainly anything but creative.
When inspiration, motivation, or a deadline finally does strike, we’ve wasted valuable time that could have been spent ideating or further exploring the problem itself, allowing creative ideas to make themselves known.
Research studies have even proven that thinking about a project in-detail before beginning it often produces more creative and fulfilling results. As researchers from the American Institutes for Research, the University of Nebraska, and others demonstrated in their 2010 study Problem Construction and Creativity: The Role of Ability, Cue Consistency, and Active Processing.
After working with 195 students, the researchers concluded that: “problem construction ability was related to higher quality solutions as well as solutions rated as more original. ”
Even though waiting feels like the only thing to do right now, you’re better off taking time to really outline what it is you’re trying to do. You don’t need insights or inspiration to do that, you just need time and somewhere to write or draw out your thoughts.
Starting a new business, getting your paintings into a gallery, writing a full-length novel, becoming a published poet, making it to broadway, and revolutionizing an industry, all require creative solutions. But the absolute best solutions require that you think through the process before you even get started or before inspiration can even strike. The first step of starting then becomes thinking about starting, outlining the details and processes and ideals until you’re sick to your stomach with thought.
A result of defining the project or problem like this, first and foremost, is that inspiration will strike (even while you’re not looking for it). It will strike because you’ll be able to better see the various aspects of what it is you’re trying to do, all of the corners you would have otherwise skimmed over, or all of the interesting bits that everyone else fails to notice because they are still waiting to start on the obvious.
Don’t wait to start with the obvious. Rather than waiting, start now, with what you have. Outline what it is you’re trying to do in as much detail as you possibly can; right now, today. Write it down or draw it out and then expand on what you write or draw, and keep expanding until you have the inspiration, motivation, or full scope to move.
Don’t wait for permission or inspiration to move, even just a little. Start now.