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Choosing Creative Projects
Gregg Fraley -- Best Creativity Consultant Gregg Fraley -- Best Creativity Consultant
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Chicago, IL
Wednesday, April 12, 2023


Eight Ways to Beat the Blank Page Syndrome

Fill the Blank Page with Actionable Ideas For Projects
I was talking to a friend recently about what they might do in terms of a creative project. It was a tough conversation, they were stuck, and it got me thinking…
Picking out a creative project is a simple concept right? Isn’t it as easy as thinking about what you might like to create and then jumping in?
No, it’s not that simple.
Why is it complicated? Well, for many of us, full of self-doubt, worry, and fear, embarking on a creative project is emotionally fraught. “What do I want to do?” is an intimidating question because many people simply don’t know.
It’s another version of the blank page thing.
Beat the Blank Page Syndrome!
It’s worth noting that I use the word Project deliberately. Because if an idea is not a project, it typically remains undone and useless.
In any creative process, including that mini process right at the start (i.e. what the heck do I do now?), there are a few things that might help you get in a more divergent and imaginative mode. Get out a notebook and pen and make a list. Here is some guidance:
  1. First of all, relax. You’ll figure something out. Coach yourself to believe that. You know how to relax. Take the time to get into that state. Remember, you can worry like mad later.
  2. You’re looking for project ideas. If you have a vague idea, fine, write it down, but build it out by thinking “actionable project.
  3. What are the obvious things you always think about? Write them down. Getting them on paper and out of the way clears the mind. And maybe obvious is just perfect.
  4. If I was the 12-year-old me who had dreams and visions, how would he/she inform me of what things I’ve been skipping over as not realistic now? Sometimes we’re afraid to revisit dreams. Revisit. And put your personal cynic away.
  5. Imagine the wisest person in the world, someone you really admire, living or dead. Spend some time like a method actor and become that person. Then, ask yourself, what projects might I do?
  6. Think small. A creative project doesn’t have to be a three year thing. What is some discrete thing you might do that you could do in a month, or in a week? Getting a small victory under your belt can do you a world of good. If you’re compelled to write the Great American Novel, go for it.
  7. Explore where you are emotionally, swim in your emotional crap. Maybe do a mind map — then restart your ideation about possible projects.
  8. Make a list of what factors come into play, for you, in evaluating ideas you come up with. Some people call this Criteria. Here are a few you might use, but this is personal, so make it personal:
    • Motivation, do I care enough to do the work? Do I have heart for the project?
    • Recognition, be honest, do you seek approval of your work? If not approval exactly, maybe simply “get an audience” to experience or use your work?
    • Time it takes, because why pick a project you don’t have time to do, or make time to do?
    • Money or Resource Gain, is that required?
This is a post about personal creativity. And a version of this project choice conundrum occurs in every corporate board room. Teams complicate choice-making, as do organizational goals. Still, it’s possible to relax, explore, ideate and decide — as a group.
Let me know if you need help with that.

Gregg Fraley is an author and consultant, the founder of Gregg Fraley Innovation (GFi). Gregg has worked with many companies in the Fortune 1000, but also has assisted smaller businesses and start-ups in finding ways to breakout growth. He's a Visiting Innovation Scholar at Notre Dame. His business novel, "Jack's Notebook" is used in many business schools to teach structured creative problem solving. 

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