Fancy Comma, LLC is honored to publish this post from Dawn Marie Beauchamp, a wife, mother, business owner, and freelancer at the blog Embrace Controlled Chaos. Read on for Dawn’s best advice on how to find inspiration and manage the creative process to turn dream projects into a reality.
“Creativity is a process.” — @DawnMarieBeauc1Tweet
Do you ever wonder where creatives find inspiration? Inspiration is only the beginning. Once the ideas materialize, they need to be organized into steps toward a final product.
Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? It can be.
For me, I prefer to let things flow organically as much as is possible. I don’t try to force creativity, but rather, try to cultivate it so that it can flow through my days and manifest into dream projects.
Keep reading to learn more about how I find inspiration and manage the creative process to manifest my dream projects.
Inspiration Is Everywhere
The world is full of amazing ideas waiting to be turned into reality. The key is to walk around with your eyes and ears open to the world and let the ideas flow. For me, this often means ideas flow while driving, at school events, or at the park with my kiddos.
I suggest finding a way to jot things down. I type notes into my phone, because if I relied on my brain to remember, all ideas would be lost in the abyss.
“The world is full of amazing ideas waiting to be turned into reality. The key is to walk around with your eyes and ears open to the world and let the ideas flow.” — @DawnMarieBeauc1Tweet
Focus on What You Know
I run with the ideas I know the most about first. Staying close to my home base allows ideas to flow freely and quickly. I once wrote a motherhood piece on allowing oneself grace to not be perfect after looking at the seven loads of laundry piled on my couch waiting to be folded. I am often inspired to write what I need to hear, with the assumption that there are probably more people out in the world who could also benefit from my writing.
Research What You Don’t Know
Your creativity is not limited to what you know intimately. The key is to do the work if you are not an expert on a subject. With access to the internet, there are many resources right at your fingertips. Crowdsource for information, ask a question, or put out a poll on social media channels and see what the general audience has to say. Read articles and watch videos on the subject matter to gain insight.
Please remember to vet your sources. Reading one article is not research — it is a book report! Take the time to compare information from multiple sources, so that you can form a clear synopsis and write informed opinions.
Organizing the Chaos
So now, there is a mass of ideas and information in front of you. What’s next? It is time to organize that chaos into something functional. There is no right way to organize it all.
I am a creative organizer. Nowhere will you find formal outlines on my desk. Instead, you will find lists, diagrams, and short paragraphs; quite often, they are in multiple colors.
Here is an example: for a lifestyle post of 2000 words or less, I will list out the headings to be used with a working title. For a recipe post, I have photographs of the process, and notes on ingredients and measurements. That is all I need. I am sure that is not enough for many creatives, but it works for me.
Figure out a way to organize your thoughts in a way that works for you. Develop a process for organizing creative ideas, so you can help the creativity flow. @DawnMarieBeauc1Tweet
Find a simple way to organize your thoughts to get you started. The more time you spend with your process, the more it will evolve and help your creativity flow.
The One BIG Idea
Finding inspiration and managing small projects is one thing, but what about that BIG idea bouncing around in your head? The creative process is a lot harder to manage when it comes to dream projects. Why? Because you are navigating uncharted waters.
Impostor syndrome can kick in, telling you that you have no right to try something that’s so out of the norm. A scarcity mindset may sneak into the room, and make you think that your big idea is already done and done better by someone else.
In reality, the creative table is infinite – there will always be room for you to join. The only thing you need to do is make the decision to sit down.
Making the First Step
When it comes to big ideas, the first step will probably be the hardest. The first step is to say “yes” to the idea rolling around in your head and tugging at your heart.
It took me exactly one year to even say “yes” to my dream project. I finally made the decision to start because I can always decide to stop. Dreams can change and that is 100% acceptable, but the only way you come to that conclusion is to start.
So, What Comes Next?
My next step to turn my dream project — a 75,000 word writing piece — into reality was to form a plan. I normally write in 1500 word chunks, so my dream project needs way more planning than I am accustomed to.
Following my normal pattern, I wrote headings to start my brain moving. The next step was to create bullet points under each heading. I quickly did some math to decide that each section should end up with approximately 4400 words to meet my goal.
For me, I need to think of large projects in small chunks. 75,000 words seems impossible, but 17 essays of 4400 words each is something I can do. So, I’m tricking my brain with semantics, and it works for me.
Set Reasonable Goals
When starting something new and larger in scale, it is important to set reasonable goals. Setting yourself up for failure does not turn your dream project into a reality. Look at your everyday reality and assess where you have time.
Personally, I have a day job, three kids, a blog, and freelance opportunities that need to be prioritized. So, my first goal – I will touch my dream project at least one time per month. Any goal larger than this is setting me up to be angry and frustrated.
Small, slow steps will take you to the end of the journey; everything does not need to be a sprint to the finish.
Starting out with reasonable goals gives you the opportunity to gain momentum as the project progresses. Using my project as an example, as my word count grows, and the ideas start to take shape, I will change my expectations. Working once a month will become twice a month, and then grow to once a week. If the momentum does not grow exponentially as the project moves forward, it is a sign that I may need to change course. Remember that putting an idea to the side is not a failure; it is only a course correction.
Take a look around and spot all the places inspiration hides in plain sight. Even a load of laundry lying on the couch can turn into inspiration for something bigger.
“The world needs your work! Own your ideas, nurture them, and give them room to grow.” — @DawnMarieBeauc1Tweet
Creativity is a process. Find the steps that work for you and open yourself up to bigger and better ideas. Scarcity is not present in the creative space. The world needs your work! Own your ideas, nurture them, and give them room to grow.
Dawn Marie Beauchamp is a wife, mother, business owner, and writer. You can find more thoughts on life, faith, parenting, and food on her blog – Controlled Chaos| Embrace the Adventure of the Everyday. Dawn’s goal is to give people a place where they can share the ups and downs of real life and feel fully accepted for who they are and how they are navigating life. In her spare time she enjoys spending time in the great outdoors with her family or tackling insane DIY projects at home. You can find her on the following social platforms – Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.