A large creative project of the type Phyllis Korkki references in the title of her book The Big Thing can be hard to finish, or even start. Korkki identifies several characteristics of big things that make them challenging.
-Big things are personally meaningful. The dread of failing or falling short of a dream can keep us from crossing the finish line, or even the starting line.
-They have no deadline. It is your personal project that you get done on your own schedule.
-They are large and complex. At first, the structure of the thing you want to create may not be clear in your mind.
-They require sustained concentration and effort. It can be hard to keep going and going, especially in the face of the other challenges of taking on a big thing.
Creative projects are not just novels, movies, painting or other thing we typically think of as art. A healthy relationship, especially marriage and family, can be a creative undertaking. Other types of creative goals might lead to you to organize people and resources to make a difference in the world.
In order to find a way to complete her big thing, Korkki looked into areas that you might not find in other get-things-done type self-help books. For instance, she looked at the effects of health and sleep. Along the way she received coaching in breathing, posture and mindfulness. The bottom line is that if you’re going to have the energy, stamina and mental clarity you need to finish a major creative work, you’ll need to take care of yourself.
She also found that constraints were helpful. For her, her sense obligation help her design constraints around accountability to her editors and others. My background is engineering, so I tend to think of creativity in terms of dealing with constraints and how they can be overcome or possibly used to achieve a purpose.
Creative projects are rarely the work of one person. Korkki gives credit to her agent, her editor, and the many people at her publisher who turned her words into a book. Ego can get in the way of working with other and Korkki offers advice on how collaboration can work.
Something I found helpful was Korkki’s advice on figuring out when to let something go. Get real with yourself. Do you have the motivation, especially if you must learn and practice something new to achieve your creative goal? Are you committed to work on it regularly? Is it worth the sacrifice you’ll need to make? You may find that something else is more important to you, or that you don’t realistically have the desire to push through the obstacles that will inevitably show up. Instead of torturing yourself because of what you’re not doing, put you energy and talents into something else you want to do.
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