A Flood And A Standstill
I scrolled on my phone for hours the other day, buzzing with excitement and anticipation.
For the first time in forever, the ideas were flowing.
Last year, while in the thick of planning the biggest party in my life, my creativity withered away, leaving me stranded in a dry desert.
Inspiration would pop up and evaporate like a mirage. And every idea felt like a grain of sand slipping through my desperate fingers.
But now? I was shoving my face in front of the firehose and lapping up all the ideas that’d come bursting out.
And every piece of content that flashed on my screen became inspiration that further fuelled my ideas.
My long lost spark was back, baby. The magic was there. I was finally dancing in the rain at the end of a very long drought.
I scrolled on my phone for hours yesterday morning.
The room was dark. The weight on my chest, heavy.
The ideas were still there in the back of my mind, buzzing like angry bees trapped in their hive. But with no excitement and anticipation attached.
Only guilt, creative despair, melancholy at the fact most of them haven’t been brought to life yet.
With too many ideas had come frantic energy as I tried to execute them all at once, analysis-paralysis, and eventually, a standstill.
There has been progress, sure.
But not much as I wanted.
And instead of serving as inspiration, every piece of content now felt like a reminder I wasn’t moving fast enough yet.
Oh, how quickly things flip.
“You’re very focused on outcomes.”
Is what 3 different people said to me this week.
It’s only Thursday.
And of course I am.
How many of us crave the final product?
To hold something tangible in our hands, and say “look, it’s finished!”
To see the polished words on the screen, ready to be published and distributed to the masses (or the 200 folks on your email list) in just two clicks.
I can see in vivid detail the end result of each and every one of my ideas.
I know how good they could be.
And like a petulant child, I’m stamping my foot and wishing I could have it now.
(Isn’t my inner child a delight?)
But right now, I’m flailing around in Ira Glass’ gap — torn between wanting to move at lightning speed, and accepting it has to take time if I don’t want to flame out.
If you’re in the thick of creating something of your own — a business, a book, a podcast, a course —
Then I have a feeling you, too, are in the thick of this expansive, feels-like-it’s-neverending-gap.
And while I’m no expert in navigating through it gracefully…
Here are a few lessons I’ve picked up, or gleaned from others, that may help you move through it far better than I have:
I’m (finally!!!!!) learning that creativity requires systems.
But as you can see from how quickly things can flip from one day to the next —
When the ~ feelings ~ take over, they *really* take over. And I’m left at a standstill till I can pick myself back up again.
Now, I’m finally getting my butt into gear and asking for the help I need to create & implement these systems. I’ve hired a marketing assistant (yay) and doing the work to get them onboarded. (I’ll keep you updated on how this goes!)
Measuring momentum, differently.
As you now know, I’m outcome-focused. And this has probably led to more tears & angst, than happiness. Especially when I’ve spent hours chipping away at an email, a blog post, or sales page — and it still doesn’t feel done.
Most advice on how to redefine success has never resonated with me.
But I’m starting to say to myself —
“I’m content with everything I’ve done today, because it’ll set me up for success tomorrow.”
And I’m finding this phrase is settling a lot more comfortably in my bones.
Figuring out the big-picture perspective.
For so long, I’ve been wrestling with how to piece together all the different parts of me.
I love being a launch strategist for high-integrity course creators and writing conversion copy that’ll make more sales (in a way that doesn’t give anyone the ick).
I also adore writing more personal stories and essays like these. Putting words to emotions. Metaphorically (and sometimes, literally) sitting with people in their mess.
AND I want to produce creations for fellow copywriters/service providers as well, to help them take meaningful action.
But I could never figure out how to honour all of those sides with my business.
So I’ve held myself back from being too visible, because I didn’t know how to explain everything I want to do.
And when the ideas would drop, I’d file them away at the back of my mind because I never knew where/how they’d fit in.
That is, until I got the help and clarity I needed to figure out the golden thread connecting it all, AND my secret sauce.
Hint: It’s alllll about feelings, baby.
As in, being able to identify the emotions that grip and hold our audience back.
And how to directly speak to those emotions in a way that helps people shake free from their clutches and take action – (like buying your products and actually *using* your course).
More on this to come.
Now I know the big-picture and what the golden thread is, I have a clearer idea of where/how all my brain sparks fit in.
Finally – I’ll leave you with this.
Since talking about the gap, the messy middle, my desire to pivot —
A lot of older, wiser folks than me have shared it’s supposed to be slow.
It’s supposed to take awhile.
There will be a flood of ideas and forward momentum.
As well as meltdowns, days in bed, and standstills.
And if we ever want to get out of the gap and hold the finished product in our hands, we gotta keep moving.
Soooo that’s what I’ll be doing – sometimes gracefully, and sometimes with the disposition of Veruca Salt. But definitely with the knowledge I’ll eventually reach the other side.
If you’re in the gap right now, I hope to see you on the other side too.
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