Thursday, February 25, 2016

How To Process The Stupid Out Of Your Project

How To Overcome Any Obstacle In Your Way


There are many reasons to get serious about anything you care about, your passion projects, from creative writing, to painting, business and entrepreneurship.

But first ask yourself, what is it about theses things that you actually enjoy?



We often get in our own way.

We focus on the outcomes, forgetting about the steps necessary for our own success.

Do you get lost in the moment?

Is it something you can do in your own time, if left to your own devices?

Musicians are a great example of this.

They can practice for hours on songs and scales, perform for a couple hours in front of an audience that ranges from zero to huge, and afterward, sit down and play some more for the sheer joy of music.

How do you think about your passion?


Is it something that like David Foster Wallace wrote in his metaphor about two fish swimming by each other, one fish asks, "How's the water" and the other fish replies "what's water?"

In other words, is it something that you can just do, or do you have a self-limiting belief holding you back?

If you struggle with starting and maintaining your passion projects, you may be putting too much emphasis on the outcome rather than the necessary steps to get there.

Writing is not simple, and every writer - which due to schooling, the Internet and email, we are all writers - has to find a way to overcome the obstacles of momentum, motivation and inertia.

Think Of The Process Like Sailing




You pull out of your slip, cruise through the harbor and set out on the water.

If you constantly stare at the port, it's going to seem like you're never getting anywhere.

The gradual distance between you and the dock seem like it's taking forever to create any real distance.

But, if you look forward, focus on all the little things like wind, setting the jib and steering; enjoy the scenery in front and next to you, once you look back, you'll be amazed how far you've travelled.

Or imagine a cross-country flight.

You walk down the tunnel, board, stow you carry-on luggage, sit down and buckle in.  Luckily you have a window seat and can look out while you're on your way.

Do you spend the entire flight staring at the clouds and watching the square lots on the ground, wondering if there are people down there?  If so, where are they going? What are they doing? Are they looking at you as you fly at cruising altitude, bouncing around in your seat from a little light turbulence?

It'll seem like the flight lasts a life time if you try to count each lot as you fly overhead.

But if you strap down, watch a movie, read a book, or take a nap and only look out the window after you get up to use the bathroom when you need to, the flight will seem like it's passing in no-time at all.

It's All About The Process Not The Product


3 Authors That Will Help You Overcome Your Adversity To Writing


1) In his book on writing, The Lie That Tells a Truth, John Dufresne opines that when we focus on the end product, it's difficult to see it through. He encourages us in his preface that;
"Remember when you were a child, and you were stuck in the house on a rainy day, and Mom sat you at the kitchen table, gave you a pencil, a sharpener, a box of crayons, and a ream of paper, and you went at it? You drew all day long and never got blocked..."
The idea here is that as kids, we never thought about the outcome of our passion.  We used it to lose ourselves in the moment.  To act as a pastime when we could.  It was about the enjoyment of the process not the end result.

2) Similarly Austin Kleon writes in his books, Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work, that it's the process that people don't see when they think about creative work.

People enjoy the finished product, but as creatives we should focus on enjoying the process.

He suggests getting out in the world, carrying a notebook and making notes of the sights, sounds, smells, that you experience. You can use them at a later date.

I wrote a post about this process of stealing and borrowing for ideas on a blog post that you can read here: My Kindle Publishing Lesson: Beg, Borrow and Steal Your Way To Becoming A Better Writer.

The point is, you can borrow from people around you and utilize it to make your projects better.




3) Finally author Johnny B. Truant of The Smarter Artist Podcast (as well as the Self-Publishing Podcast and Write, Publish, Repeat) claims in his episode titled "Talking About Writing Is Not Writing" - he mentions the work that a carpenter does.

A carpenter doesn't spend their time talking about carpentry, they're actively working on the craft.

So find a way with your passion project to get deep into the trenches of doing the actual work.

The band Pearl Jam says that when they started, they're rehearsal space was in the basement of a warehouse that other creatives used during the day.

They'd walk past the artists, climbing down the stairs smelling the paint and tincture, and feel inspired to match what was going on around them.

In all of these examples, there is the reinforcement to focus on the process, the daily act of sitting down and writing.

No one is saying that following your passion project is going to be easy.  Or simple, or fun all the time.

There's no guarantee you won't fall on your face, lose your shirt, or fail.

Get Lost To Find Yourself

Set a goal.

Perhaps it's finding a new client.

Or writing 500 words a day.

Perhaps it's running 3 miles at the end of a long work day.

Set a goal that you can realistic do everyday.  Don't worry about the outcome of those goals.

For this exercise focus on small, micro-accomplishments that you can do and maintain daily.

The point is, create the process of doing little things that moves you , step by step, toward your goals.

The act of getting down in the trenches, of digging into the words and what you're trying to say, is one you need to be willing to do.

Teach yourself how to be preoccupied with the act of doing, how to get lost in the moment, knowing that you'll get there some day and some how.

Just don't worry about the outcome. How it'll be received, or whether it'll be any "good."

That's a burden that's too great to carry.

And one that, often, you don't have any control over.

So focus on the necessary steps, and diligently get lost in the process (an oxymoron for sure!).