Too many creative ideas? You might have ‘Idea Debt’ [Stacy’s Book Note]

Avoiding idea debt is about acting before you think too much and get overwhelmed by how hard and important your project feels.... Just take the jump.

Jessica Abel

A common reason why people reach out to me is that they get stuck from having too many creative ideas. I am guilty of this too. Years ago, I came across Jessica Abel‘s book, Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life. I find myself going back to it again and again. The reason: to remind myself of idea debt.

Idea debt is “having big creative ideas but no real plan for actually working toward making them happen.” According to Abel, there are two kinds of idea debt…

  1. Type P comes from “allowing your perfectionistic tendencies to overcomplicate the project, raise your anxiety level, and cause you to procrastinate.”
  2. Type N comes from being “weighed down by old ideas. If we don’t truly shake free of them some part of our brain is devoted to processing them at all times” so that “you may feel like you only have 10% of your brain actually available to you when you want to make your work.”

The book shares an approach similar to The Lighthouse Method, but more specific to creative projects.

Gardening Notes

Each year, we grow tomatoes. This year, we got to a late start, so instead of starting from seeds, we purchased 6 plants. They are growing much larger and faster than in previous years. I’m realizing that I was putting too many plants in the planter. Next year, I’ll be sure to space out the seedlings more than I had in the past.

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