In my last post, I wrote about how boring the daily practice of success can be.
That’s what’s strange about being a songwriter and writer. Most people truly don’t realize how ho-hum it is sometimes!
That’s because the finished product looks so effortless! As if it just “whoosh!” landed on your doorstep, and you ran out and started selling it.
People romanticize results.
I know this because I am a hopeless romantic. I see someone’s work, and I think, “Ah! This is brilliant! How lofty is the soul that doth create!” I forget that this product is the result of many hours of work. Sometimes tedious work.
And here’s the difference between people who accomplish something and people who just dream:
The ones who do it sit down and do it. That’s all.
But I’m here to tell you:
Even the most incurable romantic can accomplish anything. I’m living proof of that!
Here’s how you do it:
Part 1 – Break it down.
Every big idea can be broken down into small steps.
If it’s a book, there’s an outline. If it’s a CD, it’s the daily act of writing songs. If it’s a website, then it’s a navigation Mind Map.
My favorite Break-it-Down Tool is the common Sticky-Note. I buy the obnoxious neon colors. Then I put a self-stick wall poster (best invention ever) on my wall with the project name on it. Any idea or task in the project becomes a sticky note. In time, the notes get moved around to become an orderly list.
Part 2 – Create a System.
Let’s face it. “System” is not a sexy word.
Think about the last time you sat next to someone on a plane who told you, “I’m a Systems Analyst.” How quickly did you wonder if you could change seats?
The truth is: Systems are uber-cool. A business without systems is chaos.
So is a human.
A System tells you: “Here’s how it’s going to get done – whether anyone’s ‘in the mood’ or not.”
Why is this so important?
Because systems make a strategy out of our intentions. Systems can lead us.
Otherwise, it’s too easy to be led by our emotions or our busy-ness. “I don’t feel like it today.” “My dad never liked me so there’s no point.” “I’ve got 184 emails to answer!” When our emotions take the leadership role – years slip by and we wonder why we never get anything done!
It’s tempting to think that a system would stifle your emotions. But actually, a system provides boundaries. It’s like taking your emotions to the dog park. They have a fenced in area where they can run around.
Part 3 – Cherish your Attention
My new CD will be released this Spring. One song is called, “How to Be Real.” I wrote it for a woman who won my “Write Me a Song, Girlfriend!” raffle. Tickets were $150 each, and the winner got her very own song on the CD written by me.
I’d never been paid so much in advance to write a song. It was daunting!
But I did what I always do when the pressure is on:
Every morning at 10am, I picked up my guitar and greeted that song like an old friend. I spent one hour giving my Full Creative Attention to it.
Very little happened at first. I just sat with the idea of the song. But soon, a lyric showed up. Then a melody. Eventually, I finished the song. It’s the second song on my upcoming CD.
Write this down and memorize it: Your attention is the most powerful creative tool you have. Cherish it and use it well.
Part 4 – Practice Faith
Here’s what’ll happen when you start sitting down day after day working on these little steps.
A voice will run through your head, much like the CNN news ticker running across the bottom of your television screen. It will say things like, “How can I know this is even worth it?” “I’ll feel like an idiot if this doesn’t work.” “What if this never goes anywhere?”
Well, this is where we romantics have all the leverage. Everyone who has ever created anything – from a stage production to a business to a quilt – has done it with one mindset to guide them.
Not only in what you’re creating – but in yourself as a Creator.
When you have faith in yourself, then you trust that you’ll keep creating no matter the outcome of this particular venture. Being “worth it” is an ego construct designed to keep you stuck in your comfort zone!
Remember this: People who require guarantees don’t accomplish much. Faith is a part of accomplishing anything.
Your Assignment: Pick one project or idea you’ve been putting off. Apply these four steps starting today.
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