This question came from a friend, and I ended up writing such an extensive answer that I figured I’d post it here for easier reading.
This is simplifying things a bit, but there are two different types of creative ventures, so the answer differs a little depending on which you mean. One type is where you’re writing or painting or doing some sort of creative thing where you pretty much do one thing but do it a lot. The other type is when you’re doing things like making videos or other stuff where there are a lot of different aspects to the creative process.
For the first type of creative ventures, where it’s mostly just one thing a lot, make it really really easy, and make it a habit. For example, if you’re trying to become a writer, make it a requirement that you write 5 minutes a day. Some days that will be all you can manage, but sometimes you’ll find you get in a groove and end up writing much longer. But if your writing area is messy and you don’t have a pen and paper (or laptop, depending on your preference) handy, that makes it difficult to get going. So do everything you can to get out of your own way, and make it SUPER easy to get started every day.
Chaining habits is also really helpful. Having habits that trigger one another helps make sure you do them – for example: wake up, use the bathroom, eat breakfast, write 5 minutes. Finding ways you can chain habits so that you don’t have to make decisions or think about them makes it a lot easier to stick to.
For the second type, where there are a lot of different things you need to do for each creation, think quantity over quality. It’s really easy to get caught up in the idea of making one perfect thing, but you can spin your wheels forever trying to achieve perfect.
For example, for our YouTube channel, our goal right now isn’t 10k subs or 1m views or anything like that, because we can’t control external responses (the videos we think are AMAZING rarely ever go anywhere, and the random videos that we think are just okay are the ones that get super popular). Instead, we’re focusing on just getting to 100 videos. That way, we’re not focused on the results of any one video – we’re just heads-down, focusing on pumping out good quality videos but not spending too much time on any single one. Keeping to a schedule of we “have” to put out 3 (or more) videos every week helps – we can’t spend too much time or focus on one video, because we’re always moving on to the next.
Adapt this to your own abilities/schedule – for you it could be pushing out something creative every day, or once a month. But be realistic – enough time to do a decent job and not burn out, not enough time to wallow in procrastination or perfectionism.
And this is important for either type of creativity – get rid of perfectionism. Most of the time when you start a creative venture, you’re not going to be up to your own standards, and that can be really discouraging. You may not get much positive (or any) external feedback if you’re brand new and don’t have much of a following, or if you’re querying your first book, etc.
Always be striving to improve of course, but know that it’s not only impossible, but it’s actually a huge waste of time trying to put out a perfect product. We could easily spend weeks or months on each video, trying to get them as perfectly cooked/shot/edited/presented as possible. But would all that extra effort mean our channel grows that much more? No – in fact we’d probably grow less, because there would be fewer opportunities for people to find us.
And that’s another important thing. If you’re doing art purely for yourself, then this may not apply, but if you want to sell your art, grow your channel, etc. then people need to know you exist. And if you’re hiding your art from the world because it’s not good enough yet (and trust me, it never will be in your eyes), then you essentially don’t exist as an artist.
So like I said in my “do the thing” post, make your art, do your creative ventures, and put it out there – and then keep doing it. And if you need more of a nudge or someone to hold you accountable, let me know! I, and possibly others here, are happy to do so.