The Creativity “Hump”

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More often than not, the hardest part of finishing the project isn’t starting, it’s actually putting in the work every day. While starting can be intimidating, it’s the knowledge of knowing that there’s a huge mountain of stuff that has to happen before the project is completed.

I’m currently working on a project that always seems a bit hard to start. I’ve built a stigma in my mind that kind of repels me from starting, because I know the magnitude of the project. It’s going to take a lot of work, commitment and determination to finish it.

I can handle the work, it’s the other two that aren’t my strong suits. Commitment and determination mean that every day I’ll have to work on the same thing. This isn’t very appealing to someone who likes to work on a different project every day.

Today I had a bit of a revelation, a breakthrough on how creativity works. I realized today that once I actually got started and immersed in working with the creative elements of the project, the work is actually really fun and enjoyable. Many people much smarter than me have said that diligence and creativity sometimes just has to be prodded. Writers who don’t want to write sit down and start writing anyway, even if it’s rubbish, to just get started. Eventually the writing starts to improve and the creativity kicks in.

It’s just a matter of getting past the “creative hump”, or that place where you aren’t feeling very imaginative, but you have to be anyway.

Sometimes the only way to get by the hump is to power through and start anyway. It isn’t sexy, it isn’t exciting, but it works.

Photo by Andy Hay.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Glen Stansberry January 9, 2009, 7:04 am

    Heh, sorry about that. The project will be revealed VERY shortly. Let's just say that it's going to take some group participation ;)

    Thanks!

  • Richard X. Thripp January 9, 2009, 4:17 am

    What's the project? You said something about its great magnitude and I was waiting in anticipation but all I got was some pontification upon creativity.

  • Richard X. Thripp January 8, 2009, 11:17 pm

    What's the project? You said something about its great magnitude and I was waiting in anticipation but all I got was some pontification upon creativity.

    • Glen Stansberry January 9, 2009, 2:04 am

      Heh, sorry about that. The project will be revealed VERY shortly. Let's just say that it's going to take some group participation ;)

      Thanks!

  • Miguel de Luis December 31, 2008, 8:06 am

    I agree, but it's not just in art. it's the same in more simple things like running. It looks much worse before you start than when you are actually doing.

    I wonder if it's part of human nature, a fear of some sort…

    • Glen Stansberry December 31, 2008, 11:44 am

      That's true too. Perception is also a major part of the fear.

    • Ruth January 4, 2009, 9:28 pm

      Very true. I've had a hard time keeping up with my running until recently. *fingers crossed* With running, it's almost harder because, unlike writing, I can't see some long-term progress that I'm working toward. And it doesn't have an end date.

      I actually handle my disinclination to run by giving myself permission to stop if I have to. For some reason, it works and I keep going.

  • Jarrod - Warrior Development December 31, 2008, 7:09 am

    I agree, getting started the first time and then making sure you do something everyday are one of the most difficult aspects of a project.

    On the everyday tasks I make sure I have some tiny tasks that take less than 5 minutes to do so that I can just jump and do it cause I know it is not a big investment. This way I'm always going to be doing something which helps build a momentum.

  • Giovannagarcia December 31, 2008, 3:50 am

    Hi Andy

    I think the easiest part of commitment, is to commit. It is what happen after the commitment that is the hardest. After a person said I am committed to do 'A' everyday, then all the reasons in the world of “Why you cann't!” comes into the person's heard.
    It is the determination of wanting to completing 'A'. That keep the person's nose to the grindstone.
    You are right “It isn't sexy!” But it is true!

    Thank you for a great post.
    Giovanna Garcia

    • Glen Stansberry December 31, 2008, 11:40 am

      A beautiful point. The commitment IS the easiest part. Well put! :)