The Completion of a Creative Work

by Kim on June 8, 2010

Open book

The following is a guest post by Jeremy Johnson. He is a Creative Artist and Personal Development blogger at Jeremy Noel Johnson. You can connect with Jeremy on Twitter, or if you enjoyed this article you can subscribe to his RSS feed.

My name is Jeremy Johnson. I’m presently 32 years of age and back in my early 20’s, I had an idea to write a book. That’s where it all starts when we want to do something isn’t it? We have this spark of an idea! I wrote a few pages of the book and sometime between the spark of an idea and writing those few pages, the spark fizzled out. It would come back periodically and I would write a few more pages. But I never finished more than 20 pages before the book began gathering dust.

The difference between gathering dust and creating

And it began gathering dust for many years. Past my 30th birthday in fact. That’s about 8 years to not do a thing on the creative work I had an idea for. What made it gather dust? Well, it’s kind of like this. If you go to start a fire and you just have a few pieces of paper and you light a match to burn it, the fire will burn for a minute or two. But then what is left will simply become ash. That was my fuel when I started – just a fleeting idea with little power to make a fire.

Now try starting a fire with more than a few pieces of paper. Get superior fire wood. Get dry and crunchy kindling. Get some gasoline. And get all of this in a large amount. Watch the fire roar! A fire like this is much more impressive than the fire with just a few pieces of paper. When I created this kind of fire for my book, the pages flowed and I finished the rough draft, all 300 pages of it, in six months.

What made the difference?

The difference was very simple actually. When I finished my rough draft in six months, I simply made the choice to focus on my book, visualize it happening and the wonderful opportunities it could lead to. I played uplifting music in my basement (where I wrote the book on my computer) and simply got myself in an energetic state. This was very important. No writing happened when I was slumped in my chair surfing the internet and reading news websites. When I sat down, eliminated distractions, and completely focused my imagination, everything flowed.

Creating anything starts with your thoughts. When I first wrote in my early 20’s, my thoughts were very juvenile and unable to focus for long periods of time. As I got older and learned to control myself and focus more, I found that creating my idea was much easier. You can test this by focusing on any one thing for a few minutes. Pick a baseball for instance. Focus on it and concentrate. If you find your mind shifting to other things quickly, you are not in a state or environment to concentrate enough to create your wonderful work.

Where am I today?

I’m now in the final stage of editing my book. It’s exciting and if you are reading this, you must realize that even if you finish the first version of your creative work, that it may not be perfect. It’s okay to ask for help and advice. I did that and found a good editor who was willing to help polish my book and help me fix mistakes. You must be courageous enough to get help when your creative work needs polishing.

I’ve got editing to do and a publisher/query agent to find before my creative work is finished. Your creative work will likely be filled with rejections from those who don’t see it for the work of art it is. I’ve already been rejected several times from query agents to find publishers for my book. But if you focus your mind on completion of your creative work, you will see past this and continue on without giving up. The question is: “Will you join the few who create, or will you join the many who give up?”

Image via kiwikewlio on Flickr

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Sarauer June 8, 2010 at 4:03 am

I could so relate to this. For years I didn’t carry any idea through to completion of the first draft. I did conquer that, but now I have three unfinished manuscripts, and we won’t even talk about how many articles I haven’t worked through. I can get through the first draft just fine and usually do well with revisions at the outset. Then I get distracted rather than continuing to work with focus. So, now it’s time to bring the same focus to the revising/editing process that I use in the first draft stage.
Jean Sarauer´s last blog post ..How to Rant and Still Respect Yourself in the Morning

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Jeremy Johnson June 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Hi Jean! You are right on about applying the focus and energy to the post rough-draft process. When I finished the rough draft it was like finishing a marathon. I just wanted to sit back and relax for a while. But the problem was that the rough draft is just a part of the marathon and there is editing and publication that requires energy. Thank you for your thoughts!
Jeremy Johnson´s last blog post ..Learning Fallout

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Kim June 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Hi Jean,
I can see how you’d resonate with Jeremy. Your current pursuit of writing a mystery novel whilst running a blog speaks of your creative talent. Sometimes our to-do list is long, we can all use some focus. I appreciate your contribution!

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Baker June 8, 2010 at 10:33 am

Hello Kim and Jeremy,
This is a wonderful guest post on persistence. Many times when the inspired thoughts begin to formulate we have to continue to like you say “light the fire.” Also, when uninspired ideas come in, we have to learn how to deal with them in a manner that will either keep us inspired by playing music, or simply by letting it all go for a time. This was an inspiring read.

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Kim June 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Hi Baker,
Everyone has their ‘mood music’ and unique way of staying motivated and inspired. As you mentioned, sometimes we need to ‘let go’ and change the pace, then get back to it and ‘persist.’ I always appreciate you stopping by. I’m happy you enjoyed Jeremy’s post.

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Jeremy Johnson June 8, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Thanks Kim, for allowing me to guest post on your website. I really am enjoying all this collaboration and connection 🙂
Jeremy Johnson´s last blog post ..Learning Fallout

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Kim June 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I’m happy to have you here, Jeremy! Thank you for contributing 🙂

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Raeann June 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

This is very helpful because I have a hard time sharing what I’ve written. I write, then I put it aside for long periods of time, revisit, write some more and do the whole cycle over and over. Your story shows me I’m not alone.

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Kim June 9, 2010 at 6:42 am

Welcome Raeann,

I’m happy Jeremy’s story was able to inspire you. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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rob white June 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Hi Jeremy,
Congratulations on your victory, Jeremy. Jean and Jeremy bring up a great point. I was naive to think that once I finished the first draft I was almost done. Whew! Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that that is when the real work begins. The good news is that it is scientific work and simply requires discipline. Perhaps this is why people lose motivation; after the creative work is done the scientific discipline of editing and rewriting simply is not fun. In order to be successful in anything we have to be willing to do the things that nobody wants to do.

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Jeremy Johnson June 8, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Rob, very well put. That’s when the real work begins – after the initial completion of the project and the scientific work of refining and polishing.
Jeremy Johnson´s last blog post ..Learning Fallout

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Kim June 9, 2010 at 7:31 am

Hi Rob,

I enjoy your valuable input. I like the way you contrast creative writing with the discipline of editing and rewriting — brings to mind how we tend to be left brain or right brain dominant. Now, to get creative with how to make the ‘scientific’ part fun! Perhaps turn it into mini-theater by reading aloud? 🙂 Indeed, we just need to be willing to push through!
Thank you for contributing!

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Ben Tien June 8, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Hi Kim,

Creativity is a funny thing. If you think you are creative you are correct and if you think you’re not, you are correct too.

But let’s suspend any mistaken beliefs for a moment and realize something very important. Everyone has the exact same potential to be creative.
Ben Tien´s last blog post ..NLP Pacing and Leading for Persuasion

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Kim June 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Welcome Ben,

You’re correct 😉 Everyone has potential for creativity, it is a matter of belief and where we put our focus.

Thank you for stopping by!

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Farnoosh June 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm

What a great progression – even the delay – in getting to more than those first 20 pages, Jeremy. Bravo! It’s not easy to pursue every idea we have either. I am all for focus but we need to first prioritize. Is it possible you had other priorities in your 20s? We all have the same amount of time during the day and at different stages in our life, we have different priorities. Nonetheless, you are near the finish line and I wish you all the best and will remember your story!

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Kim June 11, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Welcome Farnoosh,

It’s thoughtful of you to consider Jeremy’s potential priorities in earlier years. Yes, we all have them! Sometimes we’re too hard on ourselves. It’s natural to wonder if we shouldn’t be farther along our path when we look at the success of others. It’s important to remember, we’re running our own race.

Thank you for stopping by. Your Light shines brightly!

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Jeremy Johnson June 12, 2010 at 8:04 am

Hi Farnoosh! Excellent question about what I was doing in my early 20s. If I had to sum it up, I would say I spent most of my time watching TV and playing computer/video games. So my priorities were a little off 🙂
Jeremy Johnson´s last blog post ..Kim Maglinti – Why Hypnotherapy Deserves to be in Your Personal Development Toolbox

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Ryan June 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Hi Jeremy,

The fire in your belly predicates where you’re headed. I’ve had a similar experience to you. Embarking on a new journey for a short while and cutting it short, only to start again in my mid 30’s. In my case a life circumstance – getting let go from my office job – was the prod but it really makes no difference if the influence comes from within or without. Realizing who made the decision to change is most empowering.

Thanks for sharing your inspiration 🙂

Ryan
Ryan´s last blog post ..How To Ramp Up Your Drive As A Blogger

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Kim Maglinti June 18, 2010 at 10:05 am

Welcome Ryan,

It’s indeed empowering when we decide to create change and take action. Our life is a reflection of what we have going on inside.

Thank you for sharing your personal experience with us and for stopping by!

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Monique Davis June 18, 2010 at 2:26 am

Very nice article, thanks for sharing this up.

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Kim Maglinti June 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Thanks for stopping by Monique!

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