Mar 20, 2013 · 3 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

For many, myself included, following your passion is living a creative life.

Writers, artists, musicians, designers, yes even mathematicians and karate experts need creativity to help them solve problems, innovate and have and implement ideas in their fields.

Sure, it’s easy enough to have ideas, but they can often be followed by what I call Execution Paralysis. You’re like a deer in the headlights — you’ve got the idea, but none about where or how to start. Or maybe you’re afraid to start, because, well, you might fail, but then again, you might succeed, and you’re not sure which is worse. You have the idea, but you can’t execute it.

I get it. It happens to me with story ideas and pitches. After all, it’s a lot of work to take your ideas from your head and turn them into something tangible and worthwhile.

It’s a lot easier just to sit back and revel in your idea, daydream about all the accolades it would bring you if only there were a way to make it happen, conclude that there isn’t and move on to the next idea you’ll just let die.

Please. Save the ideas. Help them realize their full potential, and they’ll help you realize yours.

How? There are a number of ways, of course, but here, we’ll just focus on getting started. Here are five ideas to get you moving:

  1. Kill the fear. So what if you make something, and no one likes it? Not everybody loves the same things, and really you absolutely must stay true to yourself, or the next thing you create really will be bad. Get over the fear of failure. Failure is not going to kill you. Normally. The flip side of that is to get over your fear of success. So you do something, and it’s a hit, and everyone thinks you’re wonderful. Yes, it might bring more pressure to continue to perform at that level, and that might be difficult, but you’ve already done it once. You can do it again, or at least come really close.

  2. Don’t get overwhelmed by the whole project. You may have heard this before, but it bears repeating: break the project down into chunks. Then, you can see which makes the most sense to do first, and well, looky there! You’ve got an action plan!

  3. Now that you’ve got your shiny new action plan, and you’ve figured out what to do first, do it! I read recently about the Zeigarnik effect, explained brilliantly here by the folks at Sparring Mind. Basically, it states that humans often feel compelled to finish what they’ve started, and it actually bothers them to leave something undone. So … start! Chances are, once you do, you’ll finish. The hardest part is just getting going.

  4. To help you get started, set aside the time. On your calendar, mark off a block of time — it doesn’t have to be much, maybe half an hour between meetings, your lunch hour at work … wherever, just mark it off as busy. Because you will be — you’ll be busy creating. Blocking off the time will get your mind prepared for it. Just like a work meeting, you’ll know it’s coming, and you’ll be ready for it when it does.

  5. Set a timer, work and then plan for the next day. Now that that chunk of time you set aside has arrived, work for the allotted amount of time. Set a timer so you know when the time is up, and then stop. That’s right, stop. Mark where you are, and plan where you’ll pick up tomorrow when your block of time rolls around again. That way, you can hit the ground running and not have to waste a good portion of your chunk of time trying to figure out what to do.

See? You’ve started, and you’ve got a plan, which means you’re well on your way to making your fabulous idea the hit it’s destined to be.

Happy creating!


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.