How to choose a creative project

So, you've decided you’re a creative person and want to embark on a life of happiness and fulfillment.

That’s great.

But, before you get around to all the hard work and heartache involved in creating something, you need to know what it is you want to create.

You need to know how to choose your creative project.

Just before I started painting, I'd come to a point in my life where I was ready to start a creative project. I thought about what I could do and came up with a list of possible options.

There are a few reasons I chose painting:

  • I wanted to do something visual that wasn’t too energy or time consuming (it had to be something I could dip in and out of).
  • It had to be something I could do at home without too much expensive equipment.
  • Although I’d not painted for a while, I knew would enjoy the process (as I had when I was young).

As you can see, you have to consider not just what you’d love to do but also if there are any limits on what you can do.

So, if you’re thinking about starting a creative project, for whatever reason, how do you decide what to focus on?

The best way to start is by asking yourself a few simple questions:

What did you love doing as a child?

One of the best things we can do as an adult is try to reconnect with our child selves.

As children we all had natural inclinations - we followed our noses and just did what we enjoyed (usually ending up being covered in mud and dirt!).

What were you obsessed with as a child? Think about what you were drawn to and what you could happily spend hours of time on.

What are your talents?

Obviously, if you have some creative ability or talent, this could be a good place to start.

Did you used to do something creative and now want reconnect with it?

Are you doing something creative now but need to change it up to make it more interesting and enjoyable?

For example, if you’re good at writing then you could combine it with something you’re passionate about.

You need to be honest about where your interests lie though. The last thing you want is to do something for the wrong reasons.

Remember, you don’t have to do something because you are good at it.

You are in this for the long haul and you’ll want to enjoy it.

What do you love doing?

If you love spending time outdoors, you could combine this with sketching or landscape painting.

Maybe you love fashion and feel you could make accessories or start knitting.

If you love dogs then design collars for them or draw them or write stories about them for 7 year olds.

You get the picture.

Again, think back over your life to the things that have driven you on and inspired you.

What are you passionate about?

If you feel strongly about something - the environment for example, use this as a starting point.  You might be passionate about organic gardening or politics or the rights of crabs. Whatever.

For some people this is a great place to start. It will be much easier to put your energy into something you feel passionately about.

Your work will feel important to you and be something you can really get behind.

Whether it's writing about the environment or drawing cabbages, use your passion to drive you on.

What are your limitations?

For some of you, your life may be in some way impaired.

Don’t let this put you off!

But… You have to take your limitations into account when planning what to do.

What we can realistically achieve is going to be restricted by what we can’t do; and we have to acknowledge this fact.

If you are low on time or can only work sporadically, you’ll need something you can dip in and out of at short notice.

If you have limited energy you should avoid anything to physically demanding. Think twice about becoming a large-scale sculptor who works primarily with iron.

You know yourself better than anyone and you know what is realistic and what is not.

Choose something that feels meaningful

These are just a few questions to help you decide how to start a creative project. Over time, what you decide to do will become your essential work - the core of your creative endeavors.

This core work will drive you forward and in return give you immense satisfaction. That’s why it’s important to spend some time thinking about it.

Let your interests and personality guide you, while taking into account limitations.

Don’t get too bogged down trying to decide what to do in the beginning though. It’s OK to change things as you go along—you’ll get used to figuring things out through trial and error.

Look around, check out what other people are doing, pick something that feels right and give it a go.

Don’t wait or put things off. Waiting only increases the chance that you’ll do nothing.

The important thing is to start.

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