5 Ways That Planning Can Make You More Creative
Whenever I use the word "planning" alongside creativity, I'll usually get one of two reactions...
For some, their eyes will light up. They're the ones who love to plan and who likely already have lists, calendars, and Evernote installed on their phones.
On the other hand, some will visibly cringe. "But I'm creative," they'll say. "I don't plan -- it might get in the way of my creative flow."
And I totally get it! I've experienced both sides and the truth is that BOTH of these reactions can be valid. So if you relate to one or the other, you are not alone!
However, what I want to talk about today is not planning out your creative output or your actual creative work...
I want to talk about how some left-brained planning can actually provide a lovely container for you to be wildly creative and expressive.
And specifically, how planning can help you to be more productive with finishing a creative idea or project.
Can you imagine that completed art project, song, book, or whatever your creative idea might be?
Here are FIVE key ways that planning can help to support your creativity:
1. Planning Gives You Clarity
Let's face it, if you don't know WHAT you want to do, you're likely not going to do it.
If you're feeling the urge to write, for example, you'll want to plan out what you want to write (a novel? poem? play?) You could also decide what genre you want to write in and a few more specifics related to whatever your particular creative idea might be.
This doesn't mean that you can't change things and adjust as you go. But without some initial planning decisions, it can be tough to pursue your creative idea.
2. Planning Gets You Started
Just getting started with your creative idea, project, or dream can be half the battle. But once you're clear on what it is you want to do, you can make some actual plans to get started.
Often it can feel easier to keep ourselves in the "ideas" phase. That is a beautiful (and important) phase to be in, no doubt, but at some point you'll want to act on your idea and see it come to life.
You can plan when you'll start your work for your creative project, how you'll start, where you'll do the work and many other details that you may need. The more you can plan out these details in advance, you more you'll build a nice foundation and structure for you to embark on your creativity,
3. Planning Helps You Stay On Track
If you didn't have a deadline, would you get something done?
With a creative plan, you can set goals and dates that will keep you on track.
Let's say you're working on your creative idea that you've finally gotten off the ground. All is good and you're really rolling with it.
Until...you get stuck. Or you meet some inner resistance. Or something in your life happens to distract you and you get off track.
It can be hard to get back to your creativity when these things happen.
In this case, if you have the framework of your plan, you can simply revisit it, adjust any dates and deadlines as necessary, and get back to work.
4. Planning Reduces Overwhelm
The other day I was feeling completely overwhelmed about a creative project.
So I did what I’ve learned to do and I planned. I got out pen and paper (I’m a bit old school that way) and wrote out what I had to do, when I was going to do, and what I needed to do to get it done.
The result? I felt a million times better. Even though I hadn't yet started the work, just by seeing everything written out and planned, it became contained and manageable.
I could break it down into steps and just take these steps, one by one, rather than holding onto this feeling of overwhelm.
What a difference a little planning made (this planning took about 5 minutes, by the way.)
When you cut out that feeling of overwhelm, you can be SO much more productive. Overwhelm is draining and takes up our energy, time, and yes, our creativity.
5. Planning For Support And Accountability Can Mean Success
As a Creativity Coach, I truly believe that the #1 factor that will determine if you finish your creative project is accountability and support. You absolutely have to have some kind of system in place that will support you.
I've seen it again and again with my clients. The ones who have some kind of support and accountability system are more likely to finish what they start. No matter how disciplined and self-motivated we are, at some point, we need to feel that connection with others in order to feel that our creative work means something, to stay with it, and to see it through to completion.
It's important to plan for this before you begin so that, on those days when you fall off track, or the doubts creep in, or you wonder what on earth you were thinking when you started this project, or there's suddenly another project that you want to start and you want to abandon this one before finishing it, or...
You get the idea.
If you have a plan to have the support and accountability you'll need, you will have a MUCH higher chance of seeing this one creative idea all the way through to completion. And just think how amazing that would feel!
Is there a planning step that you can take today to help support your creativity?
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Watch me talk about these five points in this live video: