Fellow Creatives: How Do You Choose a Good Idea?

Juggling too many things

This is Not Chaos, *Lisa Telling Kattenbraker - available on Etsy

After learning about my frequent flirtations with Good Ideas, many readers responded that they, too, find themselves in creative overload. They are either overcommitted and overwhelmed, or just fruitlessly moving from one idea to the next.

  • To what extent is an abundance of good ideas paralyzing to you?
  • How do you weed through all the wonderful ideas, schemes, projects and plans that come your way?
  • Do you have people in your life (possibly of a different temperamental disposition) who help to constrain and focus you?  How does this work, and how do you respond?
  • Do you have priorities that guide what you do?  If so, what are they?

Short of starting a support group, let’s come together and share what works (and doesn’t work) for us as we strive to be makers and creators.

Join the Conversation!

________________________________________________________________________

MEET THE ARTIST

*Lisa Telling Kattenbraker is a batik artist. She works on cotton fabric, using traditional methods and tools, combined with experimental approaches to create vibrant, contemporary american batik. She lives in Washington State with her artist husband, children, chickens, cat and puppy.

She says of her work, “The process of batik is, in many ways, a contrast to my daily life. It’s slow going, it’s meditative. I’m drawn to that process part of it…the journey.”

A Good Idea is (Not) Hard to Find – Part 2: The Honeymoon is Over

So yes, I fall fast and hard for good ideas, and can be rather obsessive about them… lots of daydreaming and the like.  The trouble is, once it seems like I’m moving toward something a bit more long term, a bit like commitment, trouble sets in.

For instance:

Me, to Idea #1:  “You know, we’ve been spending an awful lot of time together lately. Frankly, it’s a bit tedious.  I feel like all we do is research tax codes and profit margins and try to make websites.  We used to have fun!”

To Idea #2:  “I had another idea last night, and as much as I like you, I’m just really feeling like it might be “the one”.  You know?  I’m not sure why I ever thought we were a good match anyways…”

I guess this is the stage at which I’ve gotten close enough to see the dark side…

  • My ideas usually require a lot more work and time than I imagined they would.
  • Often, I must do cumbersome behind the scenes tasks before I get to the fun stuff.
  • Sometimes, my ideas just seem stupid the next day.
  • Sometimes, I am too full of self doubt to see how any of it could work out.
So, if I’m not to be the kind of girl who just hops from one good idea to the next, what am I to do?
Next time, read + comment on “I Learn to Commit” – an open forum for creatives to share what is working, and not working for them!

A Good Idea is (Not) Hard to Find – Part 1: Flirting


Good ideas for the creative process

"She Was a Terrible Flirt", Amy Abshier-Reyes*, available on Etsy

I am a flirt.

Well, I was a flirt in my mix and mingle single days, before I met someone who grabbed my attention and has kept it for a long time.  So, no, I don’t bat my eyelashes or stand “a little too close” when I meet new, interesting men.

These days, I save the eyelash-batting for ideas.  I fall in love with them regularly, and I fall hard.

Idea #1.  I’m going to travel to Africa and import textiles that I design along with traditional artisans.  I’ll host trunk shows, run a website, and maybe open some small boutiques.

Idea #2.  I’m going to write a blog in which I interview artists and other creatives.  I will study Terry Gross and Ira Glass and Andy Rooney.  I will be known for both my compassion and direct hits.

Idea #3.  I will open a pie shop with my mother as baker-in-chief.  We will introduce her amazing baking skills to the wider world.

Idea #4.  I will have another baby to keep my (suprise) 5th baby company.

Idea #5.  I will eat only foods that are close to the earth.  All the time.  And I will walk everywhere I go. And everywhere I walk, I will be stylishly, yet naturally styled.  Yes, I will have a style, and people will like it.  Maybe I’ll also design clothes for women with my body type… with the textiles that I import…

the creative process and good ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It happens every time.

I meet a good idea, or catch a glimpse of one across the room, and my heart starts to beat a little faster. My eyes sparkle. I get a little sweaty. You wouldn’t believe how good these ideas are when I first think of them.

I lie awake at night imagining our lives together in ten years.  Everything is in technicolor. I’m always so happy during this phase of our relationship… a little high, even.  I get more done around the house, I’m nicer to my family, I call a whole bunch of people to talk.  It feels GOOD to be that close to a good idea.

As I’ve gotten older, it’s come to my attention that I need to commit to some of these ideas. This is where the trouble starts.

Next time, read, “The Honeymoon is Over“.  

____________________________________________________________________

MEET THE ARTIST

*Amy Abshier-Reyes was raised on the Texas Gulf Coast, in a small farming and ranching community. She graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute and has shown paintings in galleries all over the country, as well as providing illustrations for books and magazines internationally.

She’s happily married to a sweet guy that builds motorcycles and plays guitar, and has two awesome little kids, a cranky old cat, and a huge record collection.

Steve Jobs Inspired

I read this cartoon today.  It’s true.  There was something about Steve Jobs, highlighted by his death, that speaks to the heart of our culture right now.  Certain symbolic qualities, thrown into high relief by the dismal state of our economy and the blah, blah, blahing of political maneuvering, seem to take on an even greater importance.

Rebellion.  Simplicity.  Art.  Competence.  Connectivity.  Precision. Dreams.

Comic Riffs: Quick sketches on deadline. (Cavna - TWP)

Tributes are pouring in from every corner of the blogosphere.  I’ve rounded up some of the art that is being generated, although I’m sure this is just the beginning – I”ll add to this post as I find more.  My favorite of this grouping is the graffiti.  Rebellious. Simple. Art.

A tribute to Steve Jobs

Graffiti by Taker, photo AZso

Tribute to Steve Jobs | We are orphan...

photo by Dominik Fusina, Flickr

Stephen Edward Graphics, Etsy

tribute to steve jobs

Picture: Mint Digital/PA, The Telegraph

 

Steve Jobs 2011 (black)

Illustration by Charis Tsevis

“Picasso had a saying. He said, ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal. And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world.”
— Steve Jobs in PBS’s “Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires” (1996)

The Gap Between Good Taste and Ability

Ira Glass photo: Tina Fineberg/ AP

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap.

For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.  But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

– Ira Glass of This American Life