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You have to practice. Unfortunately there is no way around it if you want to improve. Especially when you are first getting started. Click to learn more about developing a practice plan for your next creative venture.

You Need to Practice. Who Knew?

You have to practice. Unfortunately there is no way around it if you want to improve. Especially when you are first getting started. Click to learn more about developing a practice plan for your next creative venture.

Practicing Something Makes You a Whole Lot Better.

No joke.

If you want to get better at anything there is no way around it – you must practice. Then you must practice some more. You will be bad at something when you first start. But, with practice, you will improve.

You know this. I know this. We all know this. It isn’t in fact breaking news. Why, then, is it so hard to follow?

Starting anything new is difficult. It doesn’t matter if it is a workout routine, a healthier way of eating, or a new creative venture – all of them are difficult to turn into a habit. However, if you can stick it out long enough, it will become a habit. Then it will be easier to stick to and with all that practice, you will actually be better at it as well.

So, are you ready to start?

Keep the following in mind as you get started practicing your creativity:

  1. You are going to be bad at first. There is no way around this. The only way out is to practice. Be prepared to create total crap at first, but know that if you stick it out – you will get better.
  2. Make a practice plan. Don’t assume that because you are really excited about something today that by a week from now, or even tomorrow, you are going to be prepared to stick it out when things get tough. You need a plan in place. How often are you going to practice? When? What time of day? For how long? Where? Figure all of these things out ahead of time and the likelihood that you stick with it goes way up.
  3. If you are just getting started with a new creative venture. Don’t pick the toughest, most time consuming project first. Baby steps. (Anyone else a What About Bob fan?). By getting one project under your belt, your confidence, your knowledge, + your enthusiasm go way up. So finish something – anything!
  4. As you get started practicing your new creative venture, remember that you are going to be bad for a little bit. Be nice to yourself – only positive self-talk allowed in your creative zone. Yes, if you compare the work you are doing as you are getting started with what you will make down the road, it is in fact total garbage, but it is your garbage. And that garbage is better than nothing.
  5. Finally as you start to become more confident in your creative skills, share your work with others. I get it, this is scary. I consider Greens & Blues Co. to be my creative work (at least a part of it) and I have a really hard time talking about it with people whose opinions I value. It can be rough at first, but do it.

There is no one “right” way to practice. How you practice something might be very different from how I practice something. But when I think about practicing, a few different options come to mind:

You can practice by yourself working on individual skills, or you can practice in a group – attempting to take your skills to the next level by combining them with the skills of others to see what you can accomplish.

You can repeat the same steps over and over again, focusing on just one skill at at time and mastering that one skill before moving on to the next, or you can practice a variety of skills that are all necessary to accomplishing your goal.

Decide what works for you.

If I told you that today you had the entire day to practice your creativity, what would your day look like?

  • What would you be doing?
  • Who (if anyone) would you be with?
  • Where would you be at?
  • Would you do the same thing all day long, or would you chunk it and work on many different creative ventures?
  • Would you be fine with just practicing, or would you need to execute and finish a project?

Decide what works for you.

So in summary: you need to practice and you need a plan!

Check Your Creativity – Plan For Success

The best way to be successful with Check Your Creativity is to make a plan for each month. Click through to get the step-by-step process

Thanks to all of you who have signed up for Check Your Creativity – I’m so excited you all decided to join in! If you haven’t signed up yet (it’s free), you can right now by clicking here.  As you know for Check Your Creativity, each month you will come up with a new creative focus. When thinking about the year as a whole, it may seem overwhelming, that’s why for Check Your Creativity, it’s important to just take a month at a time.

For each month, in addition to picking a creative focus, it will be extremely beneficial for you to take a few minute and come up with a plan for that month. Some people will prefer an extremely specific plan, for others, a loose plan based on what you hope to accomplish will work. You know yourself best and what will work for you. Either way, making a plan before the month starts will help you be more successful in your creative pursuits.

Let’s get started. Here is my brainstorm of what I will focus on each month for the next year.

cyc brainstorm example

As I have said before, you are not locked in once you fill this out, you are always welcome to change it at any point. But, I do know for sure that starting September 1st, visual thinking will be my creative focus for the month. With that in mind, I will use these following steps quickly make a plan for the month.

Use this guide to quickly make a plan for each month of Check Your Creativity. Click through to learn more about the Check Your Creativity Challenge and how you can join today!

Step 1: Decide on your creative focus – How will you practice your creativity this month?

In my case, visual thinking. Done and done. (If you need some help brainstorming ideas for each month click here and here).

Step 2: Do you need to learn anything to get started? For some people, a creative focus will be chosen because it is the kick in the butt they need to finish a specific project (your son or daughter’s baby book) or to pick up a craft they have not practiced in years (sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc). However, some people will use their creative focus as a push to try something new (awesome!). If this is the case, you will probably spend much of your month learning + practicing, not just practicing. So when planning out your month, it is essential to take this into account.

In my case, in the past I have done a lot of reading on visual thinking, so this month will be more about committing myself to practice visual thinking rather than just thinking about how I wish I was better at it 🙂

However you might be in a very different situation. Let’s say your creative focus for September is knitting. You like the idea of knitting and wish you knew how to do it, but have no idea where to start. All you know is that you don’t know anything 🙂

First, determine how you will learn. Are you a DIY’er who prefers to checks books out of the public library and watch YouTube videos? Are you more social and prefer to sign up for a class at local knit shop? Or do you have a family member or friend who wouldn’t mind teaching you? Whatever route you choose is great, but you need to choose one.

Step 3: What materials or tools do you need for your creative focus?

For me, this is a pretty easy one. For visual thinking, I need paper and pen or Sharpie. Very simple. Going back to my other example of learning to knit, it’s very important to determine Step 2 first (how you will learn). If you are signing up for a class, the instructors will tell you materials you need to gather. If you are learning from a family member or friend, ask them what they recommend. If you are going the DIY route, I would pick a very simple pattern to begin with and just buy the basics, you can always get more later.

Once again, however you choose to go about it will be fine, but you need to make those decisions ahead of time so when the first of the month rolls around, you are ready to begin!

Step 4: Add it to your calendar.

Hopefully you printed off your Check Your Creativity calendar and hung it somewhere you are going to see it everyday. For some people that will be enough, for others you may need an extra reminder. Here’s a couple of options:

  1. Set an alarm to go off on your phone each day at the same time (make sure it is a time when you will be able to work on your creative focus).
  2. If you keep a digital calendar such as Google Calendar, add it to the days you plan on working on it. Remember to be realistic – you don’t have to work on it every single day. Are you someone who would prefer to work on your creative focus for the month every couple of days for longer stretches of time or every single day for just a few minutes. Decide which one is right for you and add it to your calendar.

I hope this helps you get ready for the creative focus you chose for September! If you need any help or have any questions – be sure to let me know!

p.s. If you think visual thinking sounds fun and you want to join me in practicing it in September, click here to read a post I did on how to get started.

Use this step-by-step plan to help you get started with your next creative venture.

Starting a New Creative Venture? Use This Plan.

Use this step-by-step plan to help you get started with your next creative venture.

If you missed last week’s post (click here), I shared how all you need to start a new creative venture is:

  1. An idea
  2. A plan
  3. Confidence (which you can truly only get from practice).

Today, I want to share a detailed plan with you. It’s not complicated, but it can be difficult to know where to start with something new, so I did the heavy lifting for you 🙂 The plan with help you #1 and #2 on this list. #3 is all on you!

Before we dive in, just a reminder that the term “creative venture” can apply to just about anything: a new business, a new hobby, a new craft, etc. No matter where your ideas falls, this plan can help you get started.

Use this step-by-step plan to help you get started with your next creative venture.

Step-by-Step Plan for Starting a New Creative Venture:

Number 1: Come Up With Your Idea

Decide what you want to do – you might already know, or you might just know that you are feeling the itch to try something new but have not narrowed it down yet.

If you aren’t sure what you want to do, figure out which one of these sounds more like you:

  • I have no idea what new creative venture I want to start.
  • I have too many ideas and don’t know how to narrow it down.

If you have no idea, you need to brainstorm. Come up with as many ideas as possible. Here are a few to get you started: drawing, web design, baking, knitting, animation, sewing, candle-making, coding, jewelry-making, interior design, quilting, architecture, carpentry, the list goes on and on. Hopefully this helps you come up with your IDEA.

If you have too many ideas, you need to brain-dump. Make a list of all the ideas you have. Then decide which one is the most feasible. Consider the following criteria (or come up with your own): time, money, interest level, combine similar ideas into one. Choose one.

Number 2: Gather Resources + Materials/Tools

If you are starting a new creative venture, most likely you are going to have to learn something new. Even if you are an expert knitter, but you have not picked up yarn and needles for the past ten years, you likely are going to need a little help brushing up your skills. Or the opposite end of the spectrum, maybe you are a complete novice and are looking to try something new – to flex your creative muscles a bit more. Either way, decide how you are going to learn: visit your local knit shop and sign up for a course, watch some Youtube videos, set-up a date with your neighbor who knits – whatever it is, make a decision about HOW you will learn.

In addition, mostly likely you will need tools or materials of some kind. Figure out what they are (Google it, ask someone, etc.) and get them. Remember, when starting a new creative venture, it is not necessary to have every fancy tool. Just start with the basics. If you find that you enjoy this venture, you can always upgrade later.

Number 3: Make a Plan

It’s awesome that you are starting a new creative venture, but when are you going to work on it? Just buying the tools and materials is not going to get you anywhere – except with a craft room full on projects you are “going to get to someday.”

How often can you realistically work on this new venture? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Be honest with yourself; be realistic with your time and your ability. As you are learning something new, everything is going to take longer than it will down the road. Add it to your calendar – be specific on your calendar. What time of day are you going to work on it and for how long.

Number 4: Start

Get started. Learn it. Make it. Create it. Design it. Build it. Whatever you are planning, do it. Start.

Number 5: Reflect

After you have tried out your new creative venture, it is vital that you stop and reflect. Are you enjoying yourself? Do you want to learn more/increase your skills? Is there a better way to spend your free time?

If you are enjoying yourself and happy, keep going with it! If you are not, do not be afraid to quit and try something new. 

I can’t wait to hear how you implement this plan to start a new creative venture. Good luck and let me know how it goes!