Stay the course.
Creating something from nothing is a messy process. In the beginning, it can be unclear if your idea or project is working. If anyone will care about what you’re making.
This is the reason so many creators abandon their work when they hit the inevitable dip in the middle of their process.
First, you get inspired to create change. For a while, this inspiration is enough to sustain you.
Then comes the desert where doubt can creep in and make the brilliance of that original spark feel like a mirage more than a viable pursuit.
Lastly, there’s the upswing. The momentum returns and you ship your work.
Of course, this is a very tidy process when written down like this. In reality, it’s not easy to get to that final step. It’s not impossible either.
The key, as I am learning within my own creative process, is to get clear on what you’re checking for to know whether or not you should stay the course.
Yesterday, I met up with Christin Lee, the creator of Room Project to discuss what I’m working on. Our conversation also covered the challenges of funding creative initiatives.
I shared that I’m moving towards focusing my coaching practice on helping writers create the financial stability they need to do their best work.
Christin introduced me to the work of her friend Beth Pickens. Who, in addition to creating the delightful book Your Art Will Save Your Life, is doing similar work addressing the financial realities of being an artist.
All of this was very affirming when it comes to my relatively new decision to get even more specific with the people I want to serve.
It also reminded me of what I’m checking for to know that I need to stay the course. Here are some of my touch points:
Are there more people than just myself feeling the particular pain point that my work addresses?
Are other people doing similar work who are further ahead in the process?
Are there gaps in who is addressing this pain point and Is there a need for more of the work that I want to do?
Am I rushing myself or am I giving my work the time it needs to become what it’s meant to be?
Am I looking to my feelings or to the data I have available to me to help me decide if I need to stay the course?
For the longest time, I only checked whether or not something felt right when deciding whether or not to keep developing an idea. Now I gather much more information than that to decide whether or not to keep going.
So, what are you checking for to know that you’re on the right track?