View Full Version : too many ideas but cant start~ HELP!

07-10-2003, 10:09 PM
ok...i need help here.

i have total creative flow going on....constant ideas for projects and designs (im a jewelry designer by trade) BUT....i cant seem to get started on any of them! when i get blocked, i usually research for new work, straighten my studio (UGH!), sketch, get inspired by going on field trips, write, do photo shoots.....but i dont think this is the same thing as being creatively blocked.

so what do you guys think! am i just overwhelmed here by a creatively cluttered mind? think i need to get organized?
hey...ill take all the guidance i can get on this one!

thanx much.

07-10-2003, 10:27 PM
Here's a thread that I'd recommend you read. I think you'll find that you're not alone in having a tough time 'getting started' even when you have tons of ideas.


Sounds like you're on the merry-go-round of creative ideas...every time you look the scene changes and you have a new direction...but you're still going around and around not able to take one of them.

Sometimes you just have to jump off...grab that idea and run with it.

07-10-2003, 10:34 PM
Hi joaillerie.

Welcome to the Creativity Forum. Wow, are you taking notes on all your creative ideas?

I think if you're unsatisfied with your creative output, thats a sign of being blocked. You're not blocked with coming up with ideas-just executing them.

Have you heard of the Artists Way program? We have a regular chat group that goes through the program together. Its really helpful for finding out what blocks you and how to work through your blocks. You may want to join us this September.

For myself, I usually look at what happens right before I block. Also if you're stopping at the same place in the creative process all the time, that may tell you something.

Where in the creative process do you stop?

Cathy Morgan
07-10-2003, 10:55 PM
Maybe choosing an idea to go with right now means more than it used to do, or means something different? It sounds as if choosing an idea to start now feels like a commitment you're just not ready to make. Probably the ideas are in a lot of different directions? Not all on one theme?

I remember Eric Maisel in his book Fearless Creating takes this stage very seriously. He suggests some ways to test each idea to see if it's something you really want to commit to. If you don't already have this book, I think it could really help.

Have you tried to sort of organize the choices on paper to see them? Sometimes I make a net or web - a mind map - of the ideas that attract me - so I can see how certain ideas go together, how they all relate in some way. Usually by the time I finish the map I have a gut sense of where to start. But even if I don't, I've put my mind "out there on paper" and it's easier to look at the choice.

Back in May I put an example or two of this kind of idea net in my online journal (http://radio.weblogs.com/0120691/2003/05/15.html) so you can see if it appeals to you to try.

At least your problem is better than feeling dry and empty of ideas.

07-11-2003, 10:16 AM
Having bursts of ideas is something I do a lot. Its hard to quiet the mind long enough to concentrate. I think taking notes is a great idea. Perhaps just concentrating on getting the ideas organized during that time would be more productive than trying to fight to concentrate.

I have just installed a journaling program on my site to record my school experiences. Perhaps I will also use it to organize ideas.

07-11-2003, 10:43 AM
That's a great idea, Cathy.

I've used the mind maps at work in my job as training developer but not for myself and my creativity.

There's a software program called Inspiration Pro that you can use to mind map on the computer. Its really helpful.

07-11-2003, 05:15 PM
hey...thanks SO much everybody. i really appreciate your guidance on this one! youve ALL helped me!!!

07-11-2003, 07:10 PM
Jo, I agree it may be a phase, and that you should take notes of these ideas.

If the 'block' continues though, it may mean that none of the ideas are really what you want to do. It may be that you are trying to avoid thinking about what you really want to do, because somewhere along the line you made the decision that you couldn't do that.

It took me a long time to come to accept that what I really wanted to do in art was the figure, and that all the other directions I was going, including some I really like, were just distractions. The reason I avoided my interest in the figure was that I couldn't figure out how to reconcile it with my conservative lifestyle.

Finally I realized that what I wanted to accomplish could be just as easily done through drawing dancers, even more so, because of the stylized poses that dance involves.

In your case, maybe there is some aspect of jewelry design youve always wanted to do but set aside because of some reason. If thats the case, pull out your hearts desire, wish for the moon, and then figure out what is blocking you from getting there. Maybe you always wanted to design work with diamonds but can't get the capital to work with. Thats a silly suggestion, but you get the point.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my ramble. :) Good luck!


Cathy Morgan
07-11-2003, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by DanaT
There's a software program called Inspiration Pro that you can use to mind map on the computer. Its really helpful.

I looked for it and found a grade 6 thru adult software program called Inspiration at http://www.inspiration.com/productinfo/Inspiration/features/index.cfm. Is this the same program you mean? It looks interesting. I guess you can do the diagrams in Word but it would be very slow and not as much fun as with paper and pen. Is the Inspiration software fast? (Guess I could download the free trial to see.)

07-11-2003, 07:24 PM
Yes, that's it Cathy.

The software is really fast. In the lightning bolt mode, you can rapid fire type in all your ideas to arrange and then take your time moving them around and reorganizing them.

I like it.

07-11-2003, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by erik_satie_rolls
It may be that you are trying to avoid thinking about what you really want to do, because somewhere along the line you made the decision that you couldn't do that.

That's a good point, erik. Maybe that's why its helpful to catch the thought process right before we decide that we can't do something. We get ideas and ideas; if we're looking to do something, finally we hunker down and do something about one of the ideas. But if we keep getting and discarding ideas, maybe we should look at why we're discarding them.

Cathy Morgan
07-11-2003, 10:41 PM
I did download Inspiration, the trial version, and will report on how it goes. Thanks, Dana!

Erik, I really appreciated your comments. I'll keep them in mind next time I get paralyzed with "too many ideas." Will ask if there's something else I don't think I'm capable of doing or "shouldn't" do.

07-14-2003, 04:46 PM
I had a problem with too many ideas yesterday. They reminded me of a saying we have at work. "Too many chiefs, not enough Indians" That's when everybody wants to give orders and no one wants to do the work. :rolleyes:

My ideas were like that yesterday; they were taking over my head but none of them actually wanted to work. Thinking of new ideas was more fun than actually doing any of them!

And it was definitely more fun than paying bills. Paying them wasn't the problem but deciding how I was to use my money for the rest of the month was. Isn't that a conincidence? I didn't want to decide what to do with my money or my time yesterday.

Robin mentioned in another thread that a goal and a plan was key to getting her to use her creative time constructively. Regimenting creative efforts is not for me but having a purpose to guide the creative efforts seems to provide direction without being too regimental.

Now, I had to remind myself that my goal is to learn how to paint outdoors in oil and sharpen my drawing skills. And then I have overarching goals for my life.

Reminding myself of these goals and continually keeping them relavant to my daily life helps me actually decide and do something about my ideas.