14 things to do before you start your next creative project

When starting a new project, do you jump right in or take a more cautious approach? Today, I want to share 14 things I’ve learned about starting new creative projects, things I wish someone had told me 20 years ago.

Welcome to Morning Creative. I’m Mark Steadman, and we’re concluding our month-long exploration of commitment. Commitment is a big word. We also discussed devotion as an alternative, but both may seem lofty and strong, right? I understand. You may not be ready for significant work right now. You might be focusing on creating music, streaming, or freelance projects. However, at some point, I hope you’ll reach a stage where you’re ready for bigger commitments. When that time comes, these are the 14 things I’ve learned about starting:

  1. Make a solemn agreement to show up for your audience for a set period of time. This could be six weeks, six months, or longer. Choose a project and work on it publicly. For example, I committed to making Morning Creative a year-long project. While I realize this may not work for everyone, I believe that the reasons we give ourselves for not committing are often not as insurmountable as we think. There are ways to align your daily life with your creative project if it’s important enough to you.
  2. Set conditions under which you are allowed to quit, but don’t base them on temporary setbacks. In Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, he suggests defining the conditions that permit you to stop. For instance, in running, is it because you’re about to have a heart attack or injure yourself? If not, discomfort or boredom shouldn’t be reasons to quit.
  3. Avoid spending too much time on planning. Start from your viewpoint and think about how to reach people who share that perspective. Your work is an expression of your worldview, how you want the world to be.
  4. Go all in, but remember that the universe may not care about your belief in yourself. While it’s essential to have self-belief, unforeseen challenges may come your way. Prepare for them and have a backup plan.
  5. Understand that not everyone will support you. Surround yourself with people who understand your vision and have patience for those who can’t see it yet. If someone doesn’t want to follow the path you’re taking, it may be time to have a conversation with them.
  6. Create a mini manifesto that expresses what you believe and the better world you’re aiming for through your work.
  7. Judge your progress based on the present rather than past failures.
  8. Establish a routine and make it a priority. Continuous improvement and sustainable work are more important than perfection.
  9. Embrace constraints such as limited money, time, or energy. Limitations can lead to more interesting work.
  10. Measure things that align with your purpose, are within your control, and can be tracked regularly. Focus on your output and investment in your work rather than external metrics like followers or downloads.
  11. Positive feedback boosts morale during challenging times. Keep a file of compliments from your work and revisit them for motivation.
  12. Don’t attach too much importance to negative feedback. Even experts can be wrong about what’s good or bad. Allow yourself to improve and grow publicly.
  13. Setbacks and challenges are inevitable in creative careers. Embrace uncertainty and seek new challenges to stay motivated.
  14. Don’t give up. But remember, this doesn’t mean doing the same thing without considering feedback. Create from a place of joy and authenticity, knowing that your creativity is important for yourself and the world.

The world needs your art, originality, and creativity now more than ever. Although the world may seem confusing and polarized, your creative contributions can make a difference. So, don’t give up.

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