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Slowing Down to Get Ahead

I've written on this blog before about the importance of slowing down and taking a break as a way to re-charge and recover from creative block. Taking a rest is a great way to practice the creative self care we need in order to get the creative juices flowing again.

But there is another reason to slow down, and it applies when we may be having quite the opposite problem.

Have you ever experienced periods when you find you have so many ideas all at once? It’s exciting and energizing and can feel absolutely amazing. We may want to try to tackle everything before we lose this powerful momentum, before the ideas leave us... and it’s in these moments when we can make some of our biggest messes.

Next thing we know, there's paint on the floor, half-written stories on the desktop, and a disappointing half-baked blackberry pie sculpture that we swear was a really good idea at the time... All these good ideas and everything has come out wrong. Where, oh where did we go astray?

I think there is a delicate balance to be found between capturing that creative energy that comes with a new idea and taking time to approach new projects with a solid plan.

Having more ideas then we can get out at once can be a good thing, but if you ever find that in your attempts to tackle it all, you're messing everything up... it might be time to put the brakes on and take a time-out.

And now for a storytime interlude...

When I was in grade school I had a really bad handwriting. Like, wildly bad. loops and swops all over the place. This was also around the time we were all keeping weekly journals for writing class, and my parents wondered if my handwriting was a problem.

But my teacher said it was totally fine. She explained that my handwriting was so poor because I had so many ideas in my head that my brain was moving faster than my hands could. The result was that it came out on the page as kind of a mess. I had to learn to slow down so that the ideas could come out properly.

My handwriting is not a mess anymore. But I do find that there are times when my brain is just moving faster than my hands can, and in order to manifest anything other than a mess I need to slooooooow dooooown. Time to step back, take stock, make lists, and get organized.

Moral of the story: sometimes in order to speed forward, we need to slow down.

It may take practice to find that sweet spot between letting the creative momentum propel us forward, and reigning it in until we get our ducks in a row. It’s something we’re always working to improve, but when we get it right, we can do our ideas justice and produce our best work.

Do you ever struggle with having too many ideas at once? What do you do when your attempts to tackle everything go off the rails? If you have any tips for harnessing this creative momentum, please share!

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