Creativity Corner: Making it Manageable

Posted by: | April 1, 2011

A regular feature by Anna Lidstone.

American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein has been quoted as saying that in order to achieve greatness you need two things: 1) A plan 2) Not quite enough time.

Which is reassuring for most of us, because “not quite enough” is usually exactly how much time we have to devote to our creative projects.

What we don’t always have is a plan.

Last month, I wrote about how we can control the “flood” of ideas that often deluge us. I suggested that trying to tackle too many projects at once (a novel? a scrapbook? a sculpture?) can be so overwhelming that we give up on finding time for our creativity altogether.

Even just one idea, though, can be just as overwhelming if we don’t break it into manageable pieces.

Problem is, it’s not very realistic to sit down with that spare hour you’ve carved out for yourself on a Saturday afternoon and say, “I’m going to write an entire feature film script today” (or compose enough music for an album or make a quilt or…). Aiming to produce a huge project in a single afternoon can be extremely overwhelming and anxiety-provoking.

What you MIGHT be able to do is get down some ideas for scene four, write a single song (or verse) or work on the green patch. That is, IF you don’t spend the first 55 minutes deciding that that’s what you’re going to do.

You don’t have to have a grand plan for the entire project, but a mini-plan for each day can keep you moving forward and can be just what you need to turn “not enough time” into “almost enough time.”

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