I’m doing the A to Z Challenge in April using the theme “What to Pack on Your Creative Journey.” Today, we’ll pack a piece of specialty gear for our creative journey — one or more kick starters to ignite creative action.
Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working. ~Pablo Picasso
I had to look up what kick starter is, when it’s not a metaphor. It’s a way of starting motorcycles and other small vehicles that are powered by internal combustion engines. A sharp push of the foot on a ratcheting lever causes a spark to ignite the fuel.
You’re going to want a way to push yourself to the next step of your journey after any time that it has stopped. You may have been taking a break for 20 minutes or handling other aspects of life for 20 weeks. When it’s time to get back to your creative journey, how do you kick start it?
Design some mechanisms for getting started again. With them, you’re less likely to prolong your interruption with distractions.
Here are some that work for me:
Warm-ups. Writing in my journal is a good warm-up for most activities, but especially for writing. Architects and interior designers often warm up for sketching by drawing parallel lines in various directions. Other visual artists draw flowers, cartoon figures, or the letters of the alphabet. How can you warm up your mind, hands, and tools for creative work?
Repeating task lists. I start my morning with a Morning Routine – a check list of things that get me off to a great start. When my day feels like it’s flagging before it starts, it’s probably because I didn’t complete my Morning Routine list. Tackling the next item of the Morning Routine gets me back on track.
Repeating task lists help for creative projects more directly, too. For example, here’s how I kick started my effort to draft each post for the A to Z challenge:
- Choose the word
- Make a mind map about that word
- Look for quotes
- Continue working on the mind map until I have 3 to 5 good ideas
- Write the post
When I got that panicky blank page feeling as I started each letter, all I had to do was pull out my check list and work my way down it.
Pomodoros. The Pomodoro Technique involves assigning oneself a task, setting a timer for 25 minutes, and working on the task. That’s a fast way to get myself back on track after an interruption.
What mechanisms kick start your creative actions?