4 Secrets to Help You Manage Multiple Creative Projects

Writer’s block, boredom, hitting a wall – all are terms creative people use when they run out of ideas. One of the best ways to overcome those moments of terror is to work on multiple projects at once. In fact, multiple projects may be the best remedy for creative block. Plus, I’ve discovered that if you actually want to make a living with your creative profession, managing multiple projects becomes a necessity. But if you struggle with simultaneous creative efforts, here’s 4 keys that should help:

Which is More Creative, A Lone Wolf or a Team?

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The “lone wolf” theory of creativity (usually an artist struggling alone) has always been the romantic ideal, but is it true? We look to artistic geniuses throughout history and naturally think that real creativity happens in isolation. But as more and more research and historical information comes to light, the lone wolf theory just isn’t holding up. As Peter Bart from Variety Magazine recently pointed out:

When To Give Up On Your Ideas or Projects

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Yesterday I wrote about resilience, and how important it can be to not give up on your ideas, your projects, and your dreams – even in the face of opposition. I used my friend Producer Ken Wales as an example of someone who pitched a movie idea for years and years and eventually made it happen. But the truth is, there are situations when it’s actually better to let go of an idea and move on – even if you’ve spent years developing and writing it. The problem is –

You Are Not A Storyteller

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This two minute interview with Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is absolutely right on.  However I hesitated posting it because of the profanity.  But the subject is so good and so timely I decided to post it anyway.  If you’re fed up like me with all the people calling themselves “storytellers” out there, then this is for you.  He doesn’t mince words, and hence the profanity.  If you’re offended, don’t watch. But if you’re not, it’s well worth two minutes:

The First Step Toward a Creative Life

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Today, while speaking at a conference in Singapore, someone asked me the secret of creative output. “Phil, how do you come up with creative material for writing and speaking – not to mention your normal production work?” I answered him by saying that the single most important question for any creative person to ask is: “What time of day am I most creative?” For me, it’s 6am to noon. When I wake up, the heavenly choir is singing, the birds are chirping, and I feel great.  So I write like mad. Everything is sharp, and I’m in a more productive mood.  But AFTER lunch?

Don’t Just Write Pastor Books, Write Serious Books

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When most pastors write books, you can bet they’re compiled from sermon notes and manuscripts. Preach a series on fear, and they end up with a book on the subject. Same with marriage, prophecy, grace, epic Bible stories – whatever. I don’t discourage that, but don’t think for a minute that’s a serious book. Writing is different than speaking, and editing sermon notes into a readable manuscript and then calling it a “book” isn’t very impressive. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, here’s what I recommend:

Does Brainstorming Really Work?

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Everyone talks about “brainstorming,” and for most of us, it’s a normal part of the creative process.  But for years, I’ve had my suspicions about brainstorming because honestly, it rarely works for me.  Keep in mind that I’m a writer, so sitting in an empty room with nothing but my laptop is pretty close to heaven.  But at the same time, I love being around people – especially when it comes to making projects happen.  But in the cold, hard light of day – when it comes to generating ideas, I get a lot more done by myself than with a team.  This short video captures why.  Take a look and then tell me about your creative approach, and whether brainstorming is the big deal it’s supposed to be:

How to Find Time to Create Your Dream Project

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Nearly every week someone comes to me in frustration and says something like, “I need to write a book but I can never find the time.” Or, “I have a screenplay I want to write, but I just have too much to do during the day.” Honestly, in most cases, even if they had nothing else to do, most still wouldn’t actually get around to writing. But just in case “finding the time” is a real problem for you, let me offer this suggestion:

Creativity Isn’t About Inspiration, It’s About Rituals

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I love the quote by painter Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Real creative professionals know that creativity isn’t about a spark, or inspired moment. Sure those things happen, but they’re rare and can’t be counted on. What can be counted on is showing up.  One writer described the writing process as simply

Would You Give 5 Hours a Day to Achieve Greatness?

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One of my favorite books from last year was Mason Curry’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.  In the book he details the daily schedule of 161 artists, writers painters, thinkers, inventors, and all-around creative people. It features their quirks (Ben Franklin liked to be naked, Maya Angelou can only write in motels, and more). It’s a fascinating read, and will definitely impact your own daily creative schedule. While there’s a wealth of information in the book (I highly recommend it), here’s two critically important things I learned: