Last week I spoke about a common plague stopping creative people everywhere: frustcrastination.
This week we continue on that theme with a second epidemic that could be seriously messing with your creative efforts: "overcomplicanning," i.e. the combination of over-complication and over-planning.
Let me explain.
Where we can go wrong:
Say you want to start a blog, for example. You have a great idea for a theme and are psyched about sharing your stuff with a larger audience (you’re probably scared too). So you start planning. You research every possible blog platform to determine which will best suit you. You pick out colors and decide on a name. You realize you’ll probably need a logo so you ask around and find a designer who can make a logo for $500. Ouch. Then you think about how often you’ll post, and who will actually read it, and how you can share it. You come up with excuses – “will anyone care?” “maybe the title isn’t exactly right.” “I wonder how I can get Lady Gaga to check me out...”
By the time you’re done with all of this – maybe 6 months later or more? – you haven’t written a word. You also feel so overwhelmed with the process that you decide to scrap the idea.
Get my gist?
The alternative: Keep it simple.
The alternative to overcomplicanning would be to simply write a blog post. And then write another one.
Keep it simple. Don’t make a logo yet. Post it on a free blogging platform and begin. (If you don’t know how to do that, google it.)
Allow everything to develop naturally. You’ll know when it’s the right time to take further measures.
And let me be clear that I totally love and support branding strategists and website/logo designers. It’s such an important piece of online and offline presence. But I just think that too often people jump right away into hiring someone to design a website before they actually do the work , practice the art, make the stuff. The actual doing is what gets you clear on your branding, so do it first, then consult someone to help you refine it and present it to the world even more powerfully.
Here’s a secret about this Creative Fridays blog:
I started it on a whim after leading a free creativity workshop. I felt awesome teaching and talking about this stuff and saw that people responded, so I wanted to keep it going. I had wanted to create a blog so many times in the past, but got too caught up in the overcomplicanning that it never happened. Until one day I decided to just do it.
I made a post and invited people to join my mailing list. (here’s a link to that very first post.)
A few months later I created the logo using a magazine and glue. Yup. I cut out the letters, pasted them on paper, signed my name, and then scanned it to my computer:
My first website was the standard theme from Wordpress. I called the people at GoDaddy and they helped me set it up and link it to my domain name. (They are very helpful. You just have to ask.)
I could've easily just used blogger.com or another free blog hosting site.
Here's what it looked like:
Was it my dream site? Absolutely not. But I did it anyway.
I still have a long way to go before having the website of my dreams, but I’m working with what I got and focusing on the content first and foremost.
So today I want to ask you:
Where in your life are you over-complicating or over-planning something that really can be simple?
Are your massive plans just an excuse to not do the actual work?
Tell me in the comments below. Tell me where you’re at. Ask me a question about something you want to know. I’m here for you.
And just start doing something, ok?
It won’t be perfect. It won’t reach a million people at once (unless you’re Justin Beiber. But I think even he had a learning curve).
Allow it to be and allow it to unfold.
And I’ll end my rant with a dance video interpretation of that sentiment. See below.
Your self-expression matters. Don’t let it go unheard.
Your dancing cheerleader,