The problem with planning

Despite knowing that the best laid plans often go awry, we often still find ourselves meticulously planning for the future.

However, like all things, planning is great but only in moderation.

But you have to allow yourself room to be fluid. Too much planning leads to rigidity, prevents innovation and restricts creativity.

It’s like when you have to go from A to B, you should plan your journey but if you try to plan out everything you will encounter along the way you’ll be less open to the unexpected. On the other hand not enough planning and you’ll just end up lost

It’s really just about finding the right balance.

Free promotion

Something that you may have observed in almost any field of work is that once momentum starts to pick up, the people that support you or your work will begin to promote you themselves.

However, it’s not that you no longer have to promote yourself.

But what happens is when you build up a network/group of people that believe in what you do they will eventually talk about your work with the people they know and words will spread. Essentially you end up getting free promotion without even asking.

It could be something as simple as when someone asks for a recommendation, your brand/work is what they bring up. However, over time it may go further, to the point where your work is brought up as a conversation starter rather than in response to something.

The disciplined creative

One of the things that I think is severely underestimated is the need for discipline in creative pursuits.

We’re bombarded with ideas and imagery of the wild artist. The creative that is awoken from slumber with their great idea. The writers block or creative block that results in nothing being produced for days, weeks or months. Then suddenly they’re almost possessed by the desire to create.

I think we separate the idea of being disciplined because it seems so in contrast to the idea of creativity.

But furthermore because we often look at creativity as a natural thing that just comes to you instead if being something you have to work at.

Time, dedication and discipline of a creative pursuit isn’t always appealing but it’s necessary.

Perfection, perception and possibility

I once wrote that perfection is a falsehood. I stand by that statement. Perfection doesn’t really exist becuase of 2 things: perception and possibility.

What may seem perfect to one person will be viewed differently by another. Perceptions of others might end up changing your own view of your work. But perfection will never be universal because not everything is for everyone.

The end result of anything you do is based on picking one option out of several. But if at certain stages you found yourself caught between perhaps 2 out of the 5 options, when you’re finally done you may wonder about the possibilities of the other options. You might find yourself thinking, maybe it would have been even better if you chose the other option.

So why not let go of the perfectionism, something you’ll never truly achieve. Instead focus on the joy joy of creating your work and getting better and better over time.

Putting more thought into branding

As much as you might want to focus on other stuff, it will always be worth putting some time into branding. It’s important to think about how things look to an outside eye and understand if you’re able to deliver your intended message.

I’ve always wanted The Daily Gemm (TDG) to be a space with writing and simplicity at the forefront and that’s what I focused on when I started posting to the Instagram account a few months ago.  However, I’ve realised that although the simplicity element works well on the blog, it doesn’t translate the same way on Instagram. I realised that I might need to do start doing things differently.

After giving it things more thought and thinking about the grand scheme and my future plans and aspirations, I came to the conclusion that I wanted the TDG Instagram account to represent my long-term plans as a brand, rather than just to represent this blog.

And so over the past week or so I’ve been coming up with ideas for how I could do things differently in a way that works for me.

One the first things that came to mind was more visual content and more colour. Currently the TDG feed is full of quotes from my blog posts in black and white. But it turns out the ‘just words, no pictures’ philosophy that I have for this site doesn’t fit for Instagram.

On one hand my grand plans for Instagram have come crashing down but on the other hand it taught me a lot. I’ve now gone back to the drawing board and spent time planning and creating things that I’m looking forward to sharing.

You don’t need to start something new

There is great pleasure in the beginning stages of a new project.

You’re full of energy and ideas, getting carried away with possibilities and potential.

But at that point, the real work hasn’t even started. You haven’t had to fully commit and you haven’t faced any challenges, those are 2 things that come with time.

So, often we get drawn into starting something new because it feels good in the beginning. However, that feeling won’t last.

It’s often much more useful to stick with what you’ve already started, commit to it and over come the challenges you face along the way.

If you can’t find a way to commit to one thing, you’ll find yourself starting over and starting something new any chance you get. You’ll even convince yourself that the projects you start aren’t worth following through.

At the end of it, you’ll have nothing to show for yourself because you didn’t commit to anything for long enough to really make a go of it.

On the other hand if you stick with one thing and give it your all, you’ll have a much higher chance of actually bringing your vision to life, which is the reason you started in the first place.

When to start

Do it now.

There are 100 cliches about the right time to begin

You’ve heard them, I’ve heard them and sometimes i even write them.

But the truth is now is really as good a time as any.

If you think something is worth putting off and doing later instead, ask yourself why.

Do you genuinely have more work to do behind the scenes. More planning, learning and preparing.

Or are you using it as an excuse to hide.

You don’t have to wait until you’re perfect to start putting stuff out out there, learn to see the beauty in your growth.

You say you’ll do it later but later may never come, so why not do it now?

Understanding art

Sometimes you don’t get it, until you do.

Creativity, self-expression and art is all based on perception.

One mans trash really is another mans treasure.

When it comes to art it’s easy to overlook something or think that you don’t like it. But the truth might just be that you haven’t given it time.

I was recently surprised at something creative, I assumed I wouldn’t like it for various reasons.

In my moment of being pleasantly surprised, I had a mini aha moment where things clicked and I started to understand the art.

But I also realised that I’d told myself this story about what I do and don’t like, as a result I closed myself off to things I may have actually liked.

A lot of other people do this and that they don’t even know it.

 

Can I do better?

A question I’m learning to ask myself without judgement?

It’s easy to judge yourself and in doing so you’re not likely to answer the question in a way that is helpful.

You’ll be likely to find yourself caught up in a woe is me story-line. Your answer will be something like: ‘Well, I’m trying and it’s just not working out the way I want and I wish it could be better but maybe I’m just not good enough…’.

That sort of mentality isn’t helpful and it won’t result in growth, development or progress.

When it comes to improving on something you can’t attach emotions to your critique because it isn’t personal.

When asking the question Can I do better? it isn’t even really about a yes or no answer because one could argue that you can always do better. Instead it’s about whether you are happy to put out the thing you’ve created or the work that you’ve done.

Vulnerable creativity

A big part of creativity is being vulnerable.

When the work you’re producing is not at the level you’re content with it may be because of one of 2 reasons.

The first is that you’re working in a medium that you’re so used to that you need to dig deeper in order to produce something with an element of vulnerability.

The second is that you’re working in a new, less familiar medium and you haven’t reached that level of comfort where you’re able to be vulnerable with what you create.

As someone who writes a daily blog, has journalled for over a decade, has had various lifestyle blogs over the past 8 years and also writes poetry, I’m quite familiar with expressing vulnerability through my words.

However, I’ve recently been working on taking and styling photos which is something new for me.

I’m still finding my way with taking photots which is why it often feels difficult. But instead of pushing myself to create something interesting, I find myself holding back.

It’s easier just to do something simple instead of putting myself into my work. That takes vulnerability.

 

 

 

There are levels to creativity.

I beleive that I’m able to convey vulnerability through my writing. But as I work with other mediums I find that I’m much less free-flowing. My work is rigid and sometimes uninteresting.

It’s not neccisarily bad but in the creative process I don’t feel like I’m experimenting or pushing the boundary