One very good lesson I’ve learned from creating artwork is to enjoy the process. It’s easy for me to envision how I want the final piece to come across, what feelings or thoughts I want to evoke from the viewer, and how the steps I’m going to take will lead me closer to the overall goal. This helps me get past that midway mark—where I feel like the piece is not coming together the way I hoped or perhaps it’s taking too much time. I’ve sat and thought about what went wrong, whether or not the piece was going to be effective, or questioned why I even created it—what purpose does it serve?
I noticed that the time I spent negatively criticizing my idea was not beneficial to the final result. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a step back and analyze what is working and what isn’t. It just means getting stuck in project overwhelm is useless. If you’re stuck mulling over your idea but not actually moving forward towards completion I suggest that you take the following steps:
1. Picture your project or idea complete. Who is holding it or viewing it? What are they thinking? How do they feel? What is your main objective? Write this down as it is pertinent to the success of your goal.
2. Gather inspiration. Using your descriptive words from the list above start to gather some content. Do your research at this stage. Are there other companies or projects that resonate with you? If so, reference them. Once you’ve done your research create an inspiration board that will help you to visualize what feeling you are trying to emulate. I like to cut magazines apart, or gather content and lay it out in InDesign—you could also use Pinterest.
3. Chunk it down. What materials do you need in order to formulate the end goal? Start with the overall feel and then move through it piece by piece, page by page or chapter by chapter. What components of the project will remain the same throughout and what will change? It could be colors, fonts and layout that stay the same—while the illustrations and written content changes depending on the section.
4. Create a schedule. For example, if it’s a book or a website, when will you need the written content by? When do you need the illustrative/photography elements? When does the final project need to be completed? How can you break it apart into sections that make it less overwhelming? Set up a calendar with reminders and maintain the deadlines you’ve set for yourself.
5. Be realistic. I always underestimate how much time it takes me to do something. Give yourself more than enough time. There is no reason to disappoint yourself by not meeting your goals. If you have a drop-dead due date that is adding pressure alter something else in your schedule that doesn’t have a due date.
6. Be flexible. Details might need to change in order to create the final vision you imagined. There may be one component that you really wanted to use but now that you see it altogether you need to be willing to let it go. It may be too much or perhaps it was just an inspiration but not part of the final piece.
7. Solicit help. I cannot stress enough how important it is to collaborate with others. If you’re a writer have an editor proofread your work—be willing to accept positive as well as negative feedback. If you’re a designer or marketer solicit someone in your network to give you feedback. Working together always produces richer and more meaningful work.
In the end moving forward is always the answer. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the little details that make up the whole. Coming up with an outline or a plan will help you to focus on the bigger picture. Whether you are starting a business, creating a website, writing a book or cleaning your house—I believe this is true no matter what goal you are trying to move towards.