Too many plots, not enough kidnappers

… Is what happens when you’re an artist with 7,896,457 ideas on the kitchen table of our mind.

If we had each had our own personal, artistic kidnapper to throw us into an old pick-up, and take us the direction so we could accomplish just one of those projects, it would probably be easier.

Do you know why?

Because on our own we get super overwhelmed, close the laptop or notebook, and promise to ourselves we will find the way back when the time feels right.

Don’t Get Trapped In the Maze

I have the same problem, guys. BUT… Thanks to all of the practicing and beating myself up about it for years, I have learned what works best to break out of the maze.

Systems and Rewards

My system?
Get up and go to a well-lit, crowded place with an outlet. In New York, that’s Starbucks or Whole Foods. This is because it has most of the food I could ever desire at a moment’s notice and free WiFi for the unpredicted email that asks me to work on something urgent. It also allows me to face the great or not-so-great architecture of Manhattan. This works because it forces me to be productive. When was the last time you were productive? What were the conditions? Did you put on your favorite artist or use a writing prompt to encourage you? Those are the questions you must know the answer to before you can replicate it.

My Reward?
Usually, I get myself a crumb cake. It’s not the system for everyone, but something about it makes me work very productively. Or a Luke’s Lobster Roll after I finish the next chapter. There can be any number of reason why dangling that particular ‘carrot’ over my own lobster-obsessed face could work, but I think it’s because it a special treat and it gives me something to look forward to — when I FINISH.

Since I’m not distracted by my house, the Roku, my Xbox360, and comfy sofa built for napping, I shouldn’t feel so inclined to be a lazy artist. Something about being surrounded by the self-proclaimed ‘creative’ drinking lattes at Starbucks typing away on MacBook Pros makes me feel like my work is MORE important, and therefore, actually worth completing. I know it’s not the ideal motivator, but it works for me. Let’s call it a guilty pleasure.

Maybe distractions aren’t deterring you… Maybe you need the tools!

Well, I use Evernote and its trusty strike-through to track progress through any lists that I make for the day. I separate my projects into work for my ‘day gig’ versus work for creativity enforcing–which is more fun but takes up more time without paying bills. Every time I finish a work/day job task, I get to work on a “fun” task: create a new blog, edit an eBook, or read a productivity blog that has been sitting in my inbox. It maintains balance, and  keeps my battery charged.

So until the kidnappers come to get you, find a system, arm yourself with the tools, give yourself a heck of a reward, and start CREATING.

Where would your ‘artistic kidnapper’ take you so you could get work done?

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