Take action on what you know

As creatives, one of the skills we have to master is finding our way to the finish line, even when it feels like muddling our way through the dark.

Sometimes we know where we want to go, but we don’t know how to get there.

And when this happens, many people end up doing nothing. They don’t take action because they don’t have all the information yet, or they aren’t clear on the whole picture.

And yet from my perspective, this is one of the biggest mistakes we can make.

So often creative wait for inspiration, not realizing that if they put pen or paintbrush to page, pick up the guitar, or open their mouths to speak or sing, just trusting the act of creation is enough to get things going.

Because strange though it may seem, inching just one part of a project or idea forward can be enough to catalyze the entire system into action.

For instance, let’s say you have a beginning to a story, and you have an idea of the ending, but you aren’t quite sure how to get there yet — what happens in the middle? Well, you can start brainstorming structural ideas and plot devices. But what do you already know, and how you can nudge that forward?

Maybe you have a pretty good idea of your characters, so what if you spent some time fleshing them out? Or maybe you can visualize the ending clearly — what if you started writing there?

Yes, it’s true that some of that work might be for “nothing.” But really, truly, is any work ever lost? Isn’t it the process and the learning that comes through that work independently valuable, regardless of its lifespan?

In another example, let’s say you want to redecorate your living room, but you don’t know where to start. And yet you DO have your eye on a particular couch you just love. Rather than waiting to solve the entire design problem, what if you got the couch you love and build the rest of the redecoration project around it?

I suppose the risk is there that you’ll have purchased a couch you love but you can’t find a single thing that will look good with it, but I doubt it.

The paralysis of inaction can become painful procrastination in short order. What do you already know about where you are that you can take action on?

Do it.

Remember the quote from Goethe, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.”

Your turn

You know I always love to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts.

Warmly,

 Jenna

 

Coming Attractions

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~> Next Writer’s Circle Session. Register by February 21st for the next session of my Writer’s Circle (starts February 25th). Build a solid habit of daily writing and finish all your writing projects: http://JustDoTheWriting.com. We’re running four groups of fantastic writers right now and it’s a ton of fun. Come join us!

 

What I'm Up To

~> Daily. Working on rewriting my script, Progeny, with my mentor Chris Soth after finishing the ProSeries.* Working now on Mini Movie Seven!

~> Reading The Rescue (Guardians of Ga’hoole, Book 3).* Watching Downton Abbey* (Season 3). Wanting to get back to Michio Kaku’s The Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel.*

 

Thanks for reading.

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Jenna,

    I experienced this recently. I wrote about 75% of the first draft of my novel, and discovered that I actually want to be writing in a totally different genre and time period. I was extremely frustrated at first because I really wanted to finish my first draft, but then I felt grateful for the discovery. I knew that I didn’t waste my time because I discovered a great deal about myself and my writing process while writing. Taking action is critical for not only moving forward, but for making those creative discoveries that will take our work to the next level.

    Thanks for the post,
    Cindy

  2. My challenge is to balance my busy-bee action against creative action. Sometimes I must stop all action in order to listen to where my heart points me. Now that my analysis paralysis is no longer a constant companion, it becomes the dance of rest and action.

    • Isn’t it lovely to get out of analysis-paralysis? It changes into a whole new ball game!

      And listening to your heart — making space for it and remembering to do it — is an important way of reminding yourself of what you know and what’s most important.

      Thanks for commenting, Terri.

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