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21 Oct 2021

5 steps out of limbo

By Stephanie Christie

Creative Development & Creative Coach at Creative Waikato

A lot of us feel like we’re in limbo at the moment. This can have an impact not only on our creativity, but also on the non-creative aspects of our creative life. We may be doing the stuff that’s super urgent, but neglecting to do the things that would help us to move forward. Here’s a technique that can help:

1. Brainstorm all the things that can help you move forward creatively. 

This might include things like: work out what funding is available, get in touch with Bob, set up a Youtube channel, etc.

2. Go through the brainstorm and break all the tasks down into chunks that can be done in half an hour or less.

“Apply for funding” might include: write out the dates that funding rounds open, email Adrienne at Creative Waikato to talk about funding, write a list of things I’ll need, etc. If you don’t know how to break a task down any smaller, guess how many half hour chunks it will take, and write these out. Then you can cross off each one that you complete.

3. Write the brainstorm out as a list. 

This will help it look more motivating. This is also the point at which you might choose to keep or remove some of the tasks, based on what’s most important for you right now. Stop at the point where the list looks overwhelming!

Try not to remove something just because it looks difficult or boring. If it’s difficult, add in “Get help from….”, or break the chunks down even more. If it’s boring, add in “Make a plan for how to make this task doable.”

4. Choose one thing off the list per day, and do it.

You may want to schedule in this time. Evenings are probably okay, because the activities aren’t going to be that creative in themselves, so may not require your best and brightest energy. Choose whatever on the list speaks to you the most at the time. Whatever you do is going to be more than you would have done otherwise, and this allows for variation day to day.

5. Reward yourself!

Plan a small reward to give yourself after each time you spend time on this. This reward isn’t dependent on whether you got to an outcome or not; it’s about showing up for your creative life and putting the time in. If you find long-term rewards motivating, you could set a goal with a suitable reward attached. Star charts for life!

This process can be adapted in any way that suits you. You can also use this process when you’re deep in a creative project and just want to ignore everything else. It’s all about making a little time and giving yourself a structure, so that you can work on the non-creative aspects of your creative life. Even in limbo, you can move forward with your creative life. You’ll feel better for it…