Ah, the shiny bright new thing syndrome.
Also known as magpie syndrome. Where you always seem to be drawn to the big new idea, the latest exciting thoughts and plans that seem to promise such creative adventure and fulfillment.
Ever felt that?
There’s nothing quite like the allure of something new, and an empty page holds so much mouth watering possibility (a whole new empty journal holds even more!), it never fails to entice us from other creative projects we’re part way into.
“Maybe I’ll just begin this new project, just dip into it, see where it leads… I can come back to this one later.”
But how often does later never arrive, and the abandoned project gets added to a growing pile (physically and mentally) that remind you of all you haven’t finished?
Even if you do return to a previously started project, you can’t quite regain the enthusiasm that you had at the start. When it was the latest shiny bright new thing.
We’re in an age of instant gratification and “I’m worth it, I deserve it and I want it now”.
So it’s increasingly hard to stick with our creative projects as we’re literally bombarded with distractions and temptations.
A part of being creative is to know every stage and aspect of creativity. So if we never get past the first stage or two, it follows that we’re not experiencing our creativity to anything like its fullest.
By always ditching our projects before we’ve got to the heart of them, we’re not giving ourselves a chance to fully flourish. We’re not giving ourselves a chance to be the brilliantly creative artists we can be.
Do you want to look back over your creative life and see nothing but mediocre fragments of projects that never lived up to their promise, and you never gave yourself to fully?
The solution is very simple to say, but harder to execute. In fact we can sum it up in just a handful of words:
Pick one thing. Create your heart out…
When you focus all you have on a single project and eliminate all distractions (incoming shiny bright new things included) you will astonish yourself at how much you can create.
You don’t have to suddenly abandon all your different favourite media and creative ideas forever. This is just about picking one thing right now, putting everything else to one side for the time being and creating.
An example is a writing marathon. I once made a date with myself to write for 6 hours, starting at 8am. I locked myself away, eliminating all distraction (phone, internet, even music), let the people I lived with know my plan, which they kindly respected, and wrote. Non stop. I did more in that 6 hours than in the 6 weeks previously.
You don’t have to jump in and create for 6 hours. (But I’d recommend trying it at least once.)
Start small, and build. Pick something you can create from start to finish in 15 or minutes.
A poem, a sketch, a doodle. Keep it simple and do-able.
Then once you get used to creating and finishing projects, and giving them your full energy and creativity, make the projects a little bigger.
You’ll likely soon find this is the only way you want to work. You’ll stop creating a dozen projects at a time half heartedly, and create one at a time brilliantly.
Give yourself a chance. Pick one thing. Create your heart out.
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