When I was at school in Business Studies, I remember whenever we were set a new project, we’d all rush to our computers, and start on what was obviously the most crucial and urgent part of our project. The front cover!
We’d go through dozens of fonts, and colours, and different backgrounds and text alignments, trying to get our project cover looking just right.
Eventually, after about a lesson and a half where the teacher realised that virtually the whole class was doing the same and hadn’t actually written a single word of their projects, she told us all to stop with the covers and get on with the content. She didn’t care if the front cover was a simple sheet of paper with our project title and name written on in hand.
We had all been focusing on something very trivial, trying to make it far too complicated, and at the same time avoided getting any meaningful work done.
Oh, hang on, does that sound familiar? It certainly does to me.
You can apply this same idea to many examples. Not starting a new journal until you’ve browsed every possible journal on the face of the planet to make sure you get one that’s just perfect. Looking for a new ideal shade of green for a tree in a painting, despite already having seventeen shades of green available.
Or planning any new project in such tiny detail that the plan itself is a great sprawling novel, before you’ve even put pen to paper, brush to canvas, or hand to camera in the actual project itself.
So why do we try to overcomplicate the uncomplicated?
More often than not, it’s simply to avoid getting our teeth into creating. In a word, procrastination.
I’m still prone to it myself. I remember a couple of months ago when I started this blog, thinking about the header graphic, and starting to plan a design that would complement the logos of my other two CoachCreative sites.
I could’ve easily spent a whole day or even a few days in Photoshop designing the “perfect” header. But I realised procrastination was at work, just trying to put me off that first post because I wasn’t sure what to write.
In the end I just wrote the header as simple text, and wrote a very short first post. The blog was born, it was up and running, and from then it was easy to keep the momentum with new posts. I’ll go back and design a more fancy header at some point, but for now it doesn’t need to be complicated.
One of my favourite quotes is: “Implement Now, Perfect Later.”
It’s something I’ve got far better at than days back in school with those hours spent on designing project covers!
Take a close look at your creative life. How do you complicate the uncomplicated?
All you need to create is your own mind. All you need to write or draw is a pencil and paper. All you need to take photos is a camera.
Go create, right now, in its simplest, purest, most uncomplicated form.
Stop complicating the uncomplicated, start creating.
How do you complicate the uncomplicated? Share your thoughts and experiences with us below.
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