Have you ever put off doing something fun or creative?
Maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own business, or try something as simple as cooking a creative new dish… or maybe paint your grandma’s antique tea cart? Instead, you busy yourself with things that need doing and then realize you don’t have the time.
Well, I can relate.
Lately, I’ve been suffering from a bad case of creative procrastination.
A perfect example is this post you’re reading. I love writing. It’s a creative outlet for me and I’m so blessed and grateful that blogging is a part of my business. Yet this past weekend, when I had some time to blog, I kept telling myself “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Now it’s almost midnight, I’m getting tired, and I wish I had finished this yesterday.
There are so many other things I really enjoy doing and really want to do – so why am I putting them off?
- build my own furniture
- plant my gardens
- paint & restyle my bathroom
- restyle a new SI Blog theme
- draw or craft
- cross stitch or string art… etc
It’s easy to tell myself that I don’t have time, but the truth is, there’s something more going on!
Well, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do believe, it partly comes down to this – as odd as this sounds, starting an enjoyable creative project may initially cause discomfort.
Being our most creative selves means getting lost in the moment and enjoying the activity while putting all other responsibilities aside – which is sometimes difficult to do.
Also, taking creative action means taking emotional risk. The emotional risk may be fear of failure, disappointment, feeling vulnerable or even stressed. And when we have so many other demands and responsibilities in our lives, sometimes it’s just easier to stay in our comfort zone rather than venture into unknown territory and risk feeling any of the above.
So here are a few inspiring ideas to get the ball rolling. I’m writing them as a reminder to myself… and hopefully to encourage you if you’ve ever been a creative procrastinator too. 🙂
Give yourself permission to create something less than perfect!
If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to create something ugly… or even less than perfect. But the truth is, creative skills are learned over time… like building a muscle. The only way to develop this creative muscle is to show up – try – and work at it repeatedly. You may end up with a few dud projects, but give yourself permission to be less than perfect along the way. Some of the best artists and most talented creatives have taken years, if not their entire life time, to perfect their skills.
I love this Picasso story!
Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.
“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”
So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.
“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”
“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.
“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”
To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”
Inspiration comes from doing!
I believe it was Wayne Dyer who said, “You don’t get inspired and then do, you do and then get inspired.”
Envisioning and dreaming about how to start a business, cook a gourmet meal or decorate a room is the start of any creative project. But eventually, you have to stop dreaming and start doing. My home decor is a perfect example. I have a vision of what I’d like it to be. Now I’d like to start working on it to actually accomplish something! Once I start, I’ll bet the inspiration will flow and it will feel great!
There’s NO perfect time or place!
We can always find an excuse. Not enough time – money – resources – knowledge – skills – or maybe the weather’s not cooperating! The truth is there is NO perfect time or place to start a project.
“Don’t wait. the time will never be just right.” Napolean Hill
Whether you’re creative outlet is painting furniture, cooking an amazing meal, sculpting, song writing or dancing; whatever it may be, I hope you give yourself the time and opportunity to explore it!
So, is there something fun you’d like to do that you’ve been putting off? Chime in – I always love hearing from you!
Have an amazing day!
Nice information for a new blogger…it is really helpful
Cheryl Atkinson says
Denise, finding this Blog post was a true blessing. I stumbled on it becauseI stalk your blog daily. I have been prostrinating bad. I follow all of you wonderful furniture artist and i can tell people what to do because i have ready it or I have watched and listened on You Tube , but the fact is i have never done it. I have never created a beautiful piece my self. I have painted my personal small tables (1 end table at a time and they look nice. Its not hard painting something one color. I have sold once small dresser that was pretty Bunker Hill Blue (1 color). I just finished a small dresser in an attempt at the ombre look and i didn’t like how it looked. I did post it on Facebook asking people why it looked blotchy after i waxed it. and everyone liked it. But I didn’t like it (DIY paint and Dixie Belle wax do not mix.) I was experimenting. I have a few days off work and I am going to paint. I may fail again but I will stop procrastinating thanks to your encouragement and advice. Before I thank you from the deepest part of my heart i do have a question. If others like it but you don’t. Do you try and sell it? I heard Brandy say (Brushed by Brandy) that if you don’t like it no one will. I’m trying to find my style but my inspiration board is all over the place. By the way, you are all over my Inspiration Board on Pinterest. You are right though, my procrastination comes from fear of failing. It is stopping me from trying to become better. Thank you thank you!
One more thing. I will stick with Dixie Belle paint from now on.
Finding your style takes time (along with working up the courage to use multiple colors and products!) and doing exactly what you’re doing is EXACTLY how I started! Might be a weird analogy, but babies don’t wake up one morning and know how to walk. Yet when we’re adults, we expect so much from ourselves and beat up on ourselves for trying. You’re doing AMAZING Cheryl!!! You’ve created and people have purchased! They wouldn’t have bought it if they didn’t like it! If painting is fun, keep at it and follow your heart. Test different colors, products and styles… and I promise over time, you’ll find a style unique to you. 🙂
No truer words….but I am surprised that such a prolific creator such as yourself has these same doubts. I have a hard time deciding what a certain piece should look like and when I finally decide on a certain finish that I can be proud of, and a buyer wants it for pennies, I am a bit offended, because they have no clue what it took to make it look like it does. First you have to search out the piece, maybe travel to go see it, pay for it, bring it home & store it while you decide what best technique to bring out its qualities, pay for finishing products, paint/fabric/knobs etc, do the work sanding/staining/painting/top coating, taking pictures to list it at a reasonable price. Then someone offers an amount that doesn’t even cover the cost of supplies. I find it a little insulting, frankly. I once sold an antique round occasional table for $100 only to find it in the buyer’s chi-chi boutique shop at $375. This was after she knocked down my initial asking price of $125. So I am slowly learning the value of my time/supplies. Stay strong & know the value of your hard work. Everyone goes thru low periods, but know that your readers are always looking forward to your next post for inspiration..
Tracy, you should be a writer…you always phrase things so beautifully. And ya, I think most people don’t realize the time, supplies, travel, technique and creative sweat that goes into producing a piece. WE have to learn to value our work/time and price accordingly but it’s an area I’m still working on too. And as for the chi-chi boutique shop owner, a shrewd business tactic for sure. But if we look at it another way – she saw the ‘true’ value of your all your gorgeous work and priced it accordingly. I think us creatives have a hard time valuing our creations because it’s more about the love of creating…. at least that’s how I often feel. 🙂
Hi Denise, Thoroughly enjoying your wonderful blog! Could you please let me know the name of the font you used for the Napolean Hill quote you used in this post?
Hi Deborah! The font is “Allura” 🙂
Your posts are always inspiring in one way or another. Now that I’m older (71) I’m a little more realistic but also not afraid of trying. In other words…..what am I waiting for. I’ve accomplished some great and not so great projects, but still love trying and dreaming about new possibilities. Continue the creative/inspirational process.
Aw thank you for the kind words Gail. And I agree, there’s a lot to be said for the creative process and the journey that takes you to the end result. x
Vicki Thompson says
Thanks for getting me ready to start my newest business. Over the years I have done many of the things that you have talked about doing. I have had my own catering business for 30 years, an antique business, redone 3 Victorian houses [still working on one] always garden, lots of crafts, painting and drawing and anything that catches my attention in other words I am ADD, this can be a blessing and a curse. Right now I have a lot of curb shopped stuff all wanting my attention, my biggest problem is how to market it. I am ready to dive in and just start doing. If you have any words of wisdom on how to market would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your blog it has really been inspiring, hopefully I will get this going and if I do you get the credit. Thanks again, Vicki
The credit will be ALL YOURS Vicki! And it sounds like this isn’t your first rodeo as they say…lol. You have the advantage of 30+ years of business experience and creativeness to draw on. As for marketing, it would be the same as your catering/antique en devour I’m sure. However, you’re not the first person to ask about marketing – so possible future post in the works. 🙂 cheering you on from this end!
“I believe it was Wayne Dyer who said, “You don’t get inspired and then do, you do and then get inspired.””
Truest dang thing. =D Great post! I need to be skim coating and even heavily mudding my room now that the drywall’s up – I’ve put it off for a few days. I’ll be so excited when it’s done, and I have no excuse for not doing it, since I’ve been dying to do it… I just can’t bring myself to. =\
What is heavily mudding a room Zovesta?… just curious. Whatever it is, I know you are going to make it look fabulous with all your creative talent. And so true, once we start, get right into it! 🙂
Well, it means I live in an old house that needs thick layers of joint compound to hide all the unevenness! =D Because of this post I actually started on it, and I’m nearly done now. Thanks, Denise!!
Okay…I know what joint compound is…lol. So happy we inspired each other. 🙂
You hit the nail right on the head…I’m heading out to my gardens and paint projects!!
yaaay…you go girl! 😉
Good morning Denise, I so relate to what you’re talking about! With the nice weather were having my greatest distracting now is gardening. I love to garden! I find it strangely relaxing and can spend hours mindlessly weeding which is great but it’s time I should be spending on my furniture projects. For me I’ve found the best way to control my procrastination is to make a list of things I want/need to focus on and set out a time frame. I tend to be more organized when I have a plan and feel less like the dog from the movie UP…’squirrel’. Thanks for the great post 🙂
I’m not sure where you’re located Annie, but if your gardening season is anything like mine here in southern Ontario, take advantage while you can!!! Doing something you love is NEVER a waste of time. And thanks for the laugh… I often feel like that dog in UP…lol
Rosanne Palazola says
I think we all feel the same way! We work outside the house, we work inside the house…and there is never enough “me” time! So I put it on my calendar! There is a small bench in my hallway that needs updating. I blocked out 2 time slots to do it – one day to paint and one day to recover it. Now I’ve made it something I “have” to do since its on my calendar. But its also something I WANT to do! Win, win!!
That’s brilliant Rosanne! Designating fun/creative time on my calendar is something I should try! 🙂
Lori La Clare says
I just wanted to point out that procrastinator is missing the S. It’s driving me nuts! Unless of course for some reason is like that on purpose. Lol
Lori La Clare says
And now my autocrrect made me say is instead of it’s. haha UGH -.-
LOVE your site BTW.
Hi Lori! This is what happens when I blog at midnight! I’m not sure why my spell check didn’t catch it but I appreciate you guys being such great editors! 🙂 When Christine pointed out my missing “S” I opened my screen to make the fix – then changed my mind. It’s the perfect reminder (to myself) that life goes on even if my creative endeavors aren’t perfect.
Love the article–it spoke volumes to me. I’ve been running my own small business for a little over a year and there are times that I get discouraged & feel I should throw in the towel. But I love what I do and I’ve never felt so free! (Just a lot poorer than I’d like. Lol.
P.S. I debated on whether or not to point out that you omitted the “s” in your post title. I figured it’s like finding out you have a piece of spinach in your teeth. I’d want to know. 🙂
I can relate. I think there’s a misconception that business owners don’t have doubts or feel discouraged if they love what they do. It’s the exact opposite really. Taking your creativity/passion and turning it into income can be challenging to say the least…but so worth it in the long run so hang in there! 🙂 And thanks for pointing out the missing “S” Christine…appreciate it! How did I miss that?…in the title of all places! This feels exactly like the spinach in my teeth scenario..lol. I could fix it – but I won’t… it will be MY reminder that not everything has to be perfect. 😉
I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who puts all my “should do chores” in front of my “want to do list”. I have a really hard time letting myself go and be creative and found your post encouraging. Knowing other people (like you…who I admire) feel the same way is comforting. I’m also very lucky to have a supportive sister who tells me often to take care of my own wants/needs instead of just caring for everyone else first. Your blog made me realize I need to listen to her wise words more often. Thank-you!!!
Sisters are the BEST aren’t they! My sister is a huge support and super encouraging too… I don’t know what I would do without her. I hope you take her advice and focus on what makes your heart sing Monique. 🙂
Thank you Denise,
I just needed to hear this today. I have so many projects going on and get overwhelmed sometimes, like today so t his made me feel ok about taking a break and staying online <3
I’m so glad it encouraged you to take a break and enjoy some online time… and I’m flattered you’ve spent some of that time visiting and commenting here Patricia! Have an amazing day! x
Mary Hooper says
The procrastinator quilt has been on my dining room table for a couple of months. I’m thinking it might have something to do with my upbringing.
My mother loved to interrupt whatever i was doing and make me do other things. “……, make my tea,” was her favorite. But it could just as well be any of many household chores she didn’t care to do. So now. my brain seems to be trained to not start anything and if i do, to stop before i finish it–because i almost always couldn’t complete any project when i was young. Sometimes we don’t know we have an abusive parent until we are very much older…..
Now I am, it’s likely that i’d rather sit outside and watch the birds in the dying tree at the edge of my yard than finish a project. Or start another project. Or think about half a dozen projects i know I’ll never even start. Now that I credit to being older and knowing that when I’m dead none of it will matter anymore!!!! Better to watch a young woodpecker grow up that spend time completing something that will end up in a yard sale some day.
But i do plan to take another watercolor class…one day…soon….before i die…. LOL
Conditioning and upbringing do have a lot to do with how we spend our time and/or the feelings we attach to certain activities. I hope you treat yourself to the watercolor class Mary! You deserve it! And as I always like to keep in mind, it’s not the finished project that’s most important, but the love and creativity involved in creating it. 🙂
Painting all the furniture in the garage, photography, watercolor painting class (I already have the supplies), crafting cards in my craft room….so many things.
I am so happy to hear that others have the procrastination issue…I don’t start because I’m afraid of not doing a great job, or of being perfect. It’s kind of sad. 🙁
Your list speaks volumes…you’re a creative soul Julie! I hope you take the time to start one of these fun projects. However, if the furniture in your garage looks anything like mine, you’ll be at it for the next 5yrs…lol.
Thank you for your blog…it really inspires me! 🙂
Oh, I love the 2nd one, Denise! I’m looking at a piece right now that’s nagging me – can’t seem to pinpoint what it wants to be. And I keep telling myself to just start doing something, but then I get nervous that I’ll start going in the wrong direction and have to redo it! Okay, tonight I start doing. Or this weekend. 😉
From my experience, even if it takes a few tries to get it right, taking action always feels better than doing nothing. But I hear you Kellee… I’ve been feeling the EXACT same way about my bathroom update! I can’t tell how many white paint swatches I’ve pondered… I mean – how hard can it be to pick a white right…lol. I think we should make a pact and just start already. 😉
Janice Simonet says
I was just thinking in this same vein this morning. Telling myself it’s ok if it’s not perfect after working on a project this weekend. Who would know anyway. Giving myself permission to become self-absorbed, self-involved, self-focused, and selfish plays a really big part in my creative procrastination with so many other responsibilities and people who have dibs on my time as well. For me it is all those self’s that allow me to go to that place of fully immersed creativity. I have to admit I come away a much better and happier person when I do. I will practice taking even little bits of those times instead of none at all at times, so I can start whittling away at my bucket list of projects. Thanks for this great article; very inspiring.
Thanks for chiming in… and phrased beautifully Janice! When I allow myself to create, I always come away feeling more relaxed and happy too. This really does make a difference in how I relate to loved ones… and even total strangers. Focusing on all the’self’s’ that you’ve mentioned is really the best way to replenish and recharge so we can give the BEST of ourselves to others!
I love painting, particularly water colours. But I always feel guilty taking a couple of hours to paint. There’s always ironing to do or bathrooms to clean etc. But I know what you mean, you should always have some ‘me time’.
Love watercolors… and I’m the same way with drawing Tania! I use to looooove taking out my graphite or charcoals and drawing portraits but it’s been over 3 years since I’ve drawn anything. The ironic part is, I bet if I/we carved out an hour or two for our art… it may recharge our batteries for the laundry/ironing…lol. 🙂