“Ideas are like rabbits,” John Steinback wrote. “You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
The trouble is, that much like rabbits, if you’re not careful, the ideas scamper off. Which idea do you chase? Which one do you spend time on and which ones do you let disappear into the distance?
How often have you come up with something brilliant just as you are going to sleep, or while on a long drive, and then not been able to catch it on paper or on screen before it fades?
And could that idea have worked if you had pulled over to the side of the road, or noted it down when you arrived at your destination, and then worked on it? Rabbits need taking care of, so do ideas. Some of the tasks are simple (note them down), and some are much harder (make them a reality / stop them being eaten by foxes).
I have a notebook full of ideas, and notes on my phone. I have a book mapped out chapter by chapter. I have a list of blog post titles. I have a wishlist of dreams. And earlier I came up for an idea for another project I would like to pursue.
How many of these will become a reality?
When I wrote out my Q4 business goals at the start of this month, several of them were activities I had written down in January including:
- Write and record an online course
- Decide on membership offer
- Write a book
I know it’s been 2020 and lots of things haven’t gone to plan. Six months of homeschooling meant very little time for the business and now my children are back at school, I still have shorter working days than before. The emotional toll of this year has also been exhausting.
But I still look at that list and think: surely I could make progress on those goals.
I could spend 30 minutes a day writing the book.
I could set aside time every month to write articles for my website.
And I could find quiet time to sit and write out a course and record it.
Why don’t I?
I haven’t been writing on my blog recently. Which isn’t to say I haven’t been writing. I’ve rewritten my own website and written websites and articles for several other people. I’ve also been writing and presenting online workshops. But finding time to write “for myself” (my business) has been tough recently.
When I started thinking about why I kept missing this commitment, I dug out The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield. I read half of it in an evening (and asked myself why I don’t read more books when I clearly could if I set my mind to it).
If you haven’t come across The War Of Art, it’s a must read if you’re creative. It’s about battling your inner demon. The Thing That Holds You Back. My inner voice usually knocks me down far more than anyone else does. Telling me it’s no good before I’ve begun. Or that no-one will buy it. Or it’s a waste of time. Or that it will have to wait because of something else.
Pressfield writes: “Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill.”
I’ve killed off a lot of what were probably quite good ideas over the years, judging by how often I’ve later seen someone else doing them! Has that ever happened to you? You talked yourself out of something and then discovered it was a goer after all.
Another quote that hit home for me recently is this one from Laurie Buchanan: “Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
What aren’t I changing?
What future do I want?
Well going back to those goals, I know what I want to do. If I want that future I need to start making changes.
There’s two and a half months of 2020 left, time to make this year memorable in a good way.