9 Ways To Begin Your Creative Dream Project (no matter what month it is.)
by Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
— C.S. Lewis
Is it just me?
Or do you too, have a meaningful project you resolved to launch this year that seems to have taken a swan dive into oblivion?
But if we want something to fly we need a robust launch.
Here are 9 ways to begin with a bang based on 2 pages in Eric Booth’s book The Every Day Work of Art: Awakening the Extraordinary in Your Daily Life.
Is there one way to begin here that’s right for you?
1. Start quietly
Booth believes experienced artists have learned to begin soul-centered projects quietly.
Consider not making big announcements about a plan till it’s well up and running.
Booth writes, “We each have our particular cast of pernicious characters that try to get parts in the drama of beginning.”
Dream projects can trigger the trip wires of self-doubt that have been laid down by our inner-critic-elves along the pathways of our brain.
Keeping your big plan on the down low in the beginning stages will allow you tip toe through the trip wires, explosion-free.
Sometimes when I talk about a dream project to others too early, it uses up all the the energy I need to actually begin the work.
2. Don’t Buy Anything
“You don’t need to take a class or buy a speedy computer,” writes Booth. “Learn small first, before you pressure the learning with new equipment. If you buy the ‘necessary tool’ too soon, you may spend creatively useful time with your new ‘toys’ and could suffocate the artistic yearning underneath.”
A notebook is all we need to begin.
3. Small Steps, Small Successes
Think of your project as a series of tiny, doable goals that you will enrich your world.
Small yeses to your creativity make dream projects come alive and stay alive.
Small yeses keep things hopping. They ensure you keep generating ideas and remain eager to tend to the project.
“Worlds are made of many small yeses,” writes Booth.
4. If You Stumble Early, Lower the Hurdle
“Remember that success is not the excellence of any single painting or project; success means sustaining the practice over time,” writes Booth.
“Let’s say the world you yearn to create is a painting of your favorite tree, and you can’t get it to look good. Pull back and sketch a single leaf for a while until it satisfies you, and then you’re ready to move on.”
“Unless your work gives you trouble, it is no good.”— Pablo Picasso
Practice self-acceptance. It’s normal for things to feel bumpy and wrong after the initial euphoria wears off. Can we keep going anyway?
5. Include Reflection
What is the most overlooked step to successfully bringing a soul-centered project to life?
Booth believes it’s consistent self-reflection.
I have dedicated wall calendars I have lying around to jot down a single reflection on a dream project every day for one month. It usually keeps me returning to the work, especially if I include art stickers from The Paper Source as tiny rewards for my attendance to the project.
“[…]Notice the minuscule achievements and hiccups of satisfaction,” writes Booth.
Savor small victories.
Jot down questions to yourself. You have good ideas, I swear.
6. Establish The Habit
The best thing you can do for yourself to manifest a dream project is to establish a habit.
Begin with ten minutes a day of poetry, or writing or music but make then 10 wholehearted minutes.
“A small steady habit will prove more effective than larger, irregular chunks of action.“— Eric Booth
7. The Role of the Work of the Masters
Booth thinks it’s helpful to regularly take in the work of masters and more minor players (whose creations relate to your dream project).
But you give yourself a great gift if you can release grandiose expectations and commit to validating yourself and your work as it is— right now.
“Your first nine hundred paintings are not destined for the Museum of Modern Art. Don’t depend on enthusiastic responses from others to keep you sustained.”— Eric Booth
8. Put Support in Place
Keep things quiet to start but as you progress a bit it’s vital to put some supports in place to sustain your upward trajectory.
“Pick the right people to be your confidantes (preferably not too close, because proximity experts pressure.) The ideal supporter is an interested, encouraging friend with a good sense of humor,” writes Booth.
“Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by the company we keep, for we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others.”— Alain de Botton
“Don’t fall into the trap of being too serious about it all in the beginning. Don’t forget to have fun,” writes Booth.
The realms you create through play birth new worlds of wonder, for yourself and others.
“The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.”— Pablo Picasso
What has helped you start a dream project in the past?
What the biggest obstacle you face starting yours in the present? Let other creatives learn from your experiences in the comments! 🙂 Thanks for reading.
More help here…