Torn Between Several Creative Ideas?
Often, what you hear is people looking for how to come up with creative ideas. What you don’t hear is people talking about having too many creative ideas they don’t know which one to choose. Not that the second situation is not as prevalent as the first. It certainly is!! It’s just that it’s not talked about as often.
The first time I heard someone talk about it was oh so many years ago. I was on a conference call where a lady (Tamara, can’t remember her last name), was talking about making career choices. That’s when she distinguished between those who have no ideas about which careers to choose and those who had so many ideas, they couldn’t decide which to choose.
And then she said something that has stuck with me all these years. She described the second group of people as having a good problem because they were “multi-talented.”
Over the years, Tamara’s statement has often been repeated over and over again in my mind.
Having Too Many Ideas is a Sign of Being Multi-Talented
It sure is nice to be described as multi-talented but it doesn’t feel so good when your multi-talented status hinders your progress.
Talking about your abundance of ideas can either make you sound boastful or it could be downright embarrassing.
This week, I received an email from one such multi-talented person. She writes about how she’s been to art school, learned so much, and now she’s plagued with so many ideas. She says
Creatively, I have too many ideasAnd too many ideas sometimes just don’t work.
Tell-Tale Signs of Being Multi-Talented and Having Too Many Creative Ideas
- Indecision: Usually when you have too many ideas to choose from, it results in artistic paralysis. You freeze and you’re unable to make a decision (this is how I know). In the midst of several ideas, you can end up doing nothing. Similarly, consumer research has shown that we experience this same problem of indecision when we are given too many product choices.
- Procrastination: Sometimes, it’s not that you can’t get started on projects, it’s that you easily get distracted by new ideas. That’s when the dreaded UFO’s (Unfinished Objects) appear. You start one project then you leave it to pursue something more interesting. When I’m working in my studio, sometimes just the sight of some fabric peeking out from under a pile is enough to get me to start something totally unrelated. Then I’ve got to talk myself into ” staying with the program”.
- Anxiety: We have just one headspace for making decisions as well as being creative. When we can’t make decisions, or when we keep procrastinating because we have too many choices to pick from, it makes us anxious. This affects our creativity negatively.
Starting is the hardest thing to do but getting started is your only chance of ever getting anything done. So just start!!
How to Choose When You’re Multi-Talented and Have Too Many Creative Ideas
- Work in a Series: You’ve got to set some limitations within which to work. Choose a theme, or a subject, or color. (I keep a record of all my ideas in an iPhone app called Day One – You should record yours too. Group your ideas into themes if possible. ) Then limit yourself to working within one theme to the exclusion of all others. Limitations help you focus and do your best work.
- Any Start is Good Enough: “But what if I still have so many series themes to choose from?” Here’s my take on this. What you start with is not as important as whether you start or not. I often struggle with starting new projects but I’ve learned to overcome this problem by doing a self-talk. This talk has the power of kicking me in the rear and reminding me that whatever I start with is good enough. In the abundance of ideas, the chances of picking a good idea are high. So just pick one.
- ChooseThe Path of Least Resistance: : Further, use both your mind and heart to help you. Choose the path of least resistance and most satisfaction. Make it so easy for yourself that you can’t not choose. Start with a manageable size project or break up a big one into parts. Then start building something big with just that small start.
- The Path Becomes Clearer: We often hold back from making a decision because we don’t want to be wrong. So we want to figure it all out. But you don’t have to. I’ve noticed that when I start to work on a project, the path becomes clearer as I work. You can’t figure everything out ahead of time. And the surprises and happy accidents actually make the creative process more fun.
So here you have it, helpful ways for the multi-talented woman to force a decision and choose a project to work on. A lot of self-talk and self-discipline helps with this one.
When I started, this week’s project – “Stormy Swirls #1” – the path wasn’t clear. I didn’t know what I was doing, which is nothing new 🙂 But it turned out quite well as you can see from the photos. I only wish I’d added one small circle in the top right-hand corner ( says my inner-critic). But that’s why I work in a series, says me. I’ll get a chance to give myself that satisfaction in another piece.
What do you struggle with more often? Creative blocks or the multi-talented creative’s problem – idea overwhelm? Hope to see you in the comments section.