Saturday, January 22, 2011

Are you a Starter or a Finisher?

I think I could put myself in the starter category. This doesn’t mean I can’t finish things but it is more natural and easier for me to start things as opposed to finishing. To finish I have to avoid being distracted and bring it to a conclusion. Once in gear my creative mind is always suggesting new and exciting things and like a child in a candy store – I want them all. I fear losing the moment of inspiration. Driven by this I try to get the ideas down in a tangible form enough so I can remember what to return to.

This morning the creative mind was at work before I lifted my head off the pillow. I ignored it long enough to do some reading which only heightened the imagination. I ended up staying in bed writing everything down. Another seed had germinated in the form of a children’s book idea, a crudely written manuscript with exciting potential. Now the idea is down in rough, I best get back to developing the ones already started. It is exciting to have so many ideas however it is no wonder I get overwhelmed at times. I love to write and I love to illustrate, both time consuming activities that need thoughtful dedication.

The only thing that helps me in this area is organisation. Because sometimes my mind moves at such speed, and my time is limited, I have to be well organised so as not to feel too scattered and overwhelmed. These emotional responses are not helpful for me. I don’t work well under too much time pressure (some but not too much) and so I have to be able to visualise my priorities. My studio area and filing play a big part. If it is important it is filed well and in front of me.

My husband hated papers on the kitchen bench and I have always been notorious for having sort piles there. I have an “IN - to sort” pile, an “urgent bill” pile, a “follow up” pile and a “when I get around to it” pile. These piles of commitments now have a home in my studio rather than annoying my best friend. The point is I need it that way to be productive. My little thought our filing systems ensure urgent things are not forgotten and I can prioritise better.

Where I have lacked skill in the past is letting go of stuff I don’t need to do in my life. This is where I am focusing more on this year. When you can’t do it all and feel you are wasting a lot of your life on monotonous tasks. When you could be achieving and contributing such much what has to go? What is not so important? What can you illuminate from your week that would save you time and more importantly emotional peace?

A Facebook friends Quote of the Day was "Anxiety is fear of one's self." - Wilhelm Stekel
Is it self-inflicted? Do we create the anxiety from our own perception of what is important or dangerous? I believe ultimately we are motivated by fear or pleasure and sorting it all out takes introspection and effort.


Anonymous said...

I used to be a starter and a non-finisher back in my early days.. I realised it was because I was so critical of my work I hated everything I did! I still get overly critical but usually after I am finished when it doesn't matter.

I am having major creativity blocks right now and hate painting everything I do. I'm about to do some experimenting and change tack for a while. I am bored! :-)


Kayleen West Cavill said...

Experimenting without any expectations is a great way to go. Some of my favourite works evolved from doing just that. Stop thinking and play a bit more for a while.

I know that self-imposed pressure too. It is something I am continually trying to keep in check so it doesn't get in the way.Aim high once you are well into it but start with a sense of fun.

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