We have a naïve assumption that we can simply jump into our work. No warm-up, no real prep, no stretching, no strengthening our working abilities. This is crazy.
Would we assume we can run a marathon without months of prep? Would we assume we could run a marathon next week just because we use to run marathons—years ago?
Big projects require a lot of fitness, today. Projects that are new to us require a lot of strength to get started, to figure them out, and to complete them. Old projects that have been lingering a drawer or a shelf probably take even more strength to finish.
Allow time to build up your working skill muscles before starting your project. That’s right, put in some up-front time that is not directly related to your project. You won’t like to hear this but you need to put in two to three weeks for strength-building alone.
We understand and know a lot about muscles
I’m using the analogy of muscles here because we all have experienced weakness and strength. Strength building is something everyone understands. We know this for sure:
Point: Muscles are strengthened over time. They can’t be built in an instant, a blast, or a weekend binge.
Point: Muscles can be built to a variety of levels of strength. The more strength we need, the longer it takes to get it.
Point: Strength can’t be captured and held.
Point: If ignored, strength diminishes, automatically, outside of our total control and beyond our full understanding.
Point: We have to continuously exercise strengthened muscles to maintain their tone.
Point: Muscles are strengthened thru regular use of graduated weights. Start with light weights and add more as your muscles grow.
My point with all of these points? We should apply our understanding of what it takes to get and keep muscles, to getting and keeping work skills. This requires turning our attention to what are work skills and once we know the list, set up a graduated way to makes us strong with each.
What are the work skills?
What we need to build is the strength of our working skills. Working skills are not the technical skills of our field of creativity but the basics things we must do to move an idea thru production.
Skill: Showing up to work when and where you need to.
Skill: Working on a regular pattern, such as everyday or every other day.
Skill: Working with full concentration.
Skill: Working even when feeling conflicted, in doubt, with limited hope, or lack of clarity.
Skill: Applying a proper level of desire for steady progress towards
Skill: Working with immersion into what you are doing so mind, body, spirit, and soul can be active and helping you create and shape.
Skill: Identifying what resources you need and keeping at it until you gather and use those resources.
Skill: Following thru on refining your project work will require (i.e. multiple edits; rehearsals, practice, reshoots).
And if we don’t allow time to build strength, what happens?
I really think we need two or three weeks to build our muscles to the place where our project work won’t:
1 Feel like absolute torture
2 Feel like massive overwhelm
3 Feel like we are never going to reconnect with our old project
4 Feel like we want to do anything but our creative work
5 Cause us to make all sorts of unnecessary moves or spending
6 Throw us into permanent doubt
7 Make us give up on our creativity.
8 Make us burying a project forever.
Two necessary strength-building steps
Hey you know this stuff. It’s all like muscles:
Start off small, very, very small. Oh yeah, start off easy. Cool your ambitions for a bit and get small and easy. Let’s start with the most basic. Pick a regular work time (15 minutes, for instance) and show up. Set a target and keep at it to hit that target, say everyday at 7:15 to 7:30.
- Accept that you are weaker than you would like.
- Begin again at the bottom to work your strength back up.
If you have been away from
For strengthening the other work skills, look at my videos for directions and tips.
Give yourself a break, give yourself a great start
This whole overestimation of our strength, or to put it another, the ignored need of all us to allow time for strength building (or rebuilding), is a big deal. I see it all the time in the people I work with and talk to and I have to slap myself awake to make I don’t short-change work skill-building, too. Most creatives don’t even think about this issue and it does require a shift in thinking.
Know: If we don’t allow time for work skill strengthening, it’s a killer. It is extremely likely to kill our project and even our creativity. Therefore, slow down. Concentrate on getting in shape first. Give it all of your attention. When you are ready, switch more of your attention to your project. Give strength-building and project building their due. One at a time, please.
Don’t rush Take time. Build up your muscles and then go!