Just Start: Overcoming Creative Task Paralysis

Despite repeatedly talking about launching my blog, it took ages to transition from words to action. As a creative professional, the familiar sight of a blank page often became a daunting hurdle, even with ample materials and a clear outline at hand.

The breakthrough came with the realization that the simple act of starting—regardless of readiness—unleashed a sense of freedom. This initial step not only eased the tension of beginning but also clarified the path forward, despite the challenges of overthinking, perfectionism, and task paralysis.

just start

Cut Loose: Bon Voyage workshop at Assemble Northampton

Understanding Task Paralysis and Overthinking

Task paralysis stems from waiting for perfect conditions that never arrive, a common plight for those who seek precision in everything, including individuals with neurodivergent traits. Overthinking, on the other hand, is a defense against the fear of the unknown, leading to anxiety and stress. This often culminates in analysis paralysis, where the abundance of choices leads to a standstill, burdened by the quest for a non-existent perfect option.

Personal Journey: Starting My Blog and Art Series

My journey to launching this blog was marked by self-doubt and procrastination. Questions like “Who needs another blog?” or “Is my concept strong enough?” plagued me, paralyzing progress. The irony of producing content prolifically in other areas of my life while faltering on my own project was not lost on me. The turning point came from understanding the value of just starting, a lesson reinforced by observing participants in my Cut Loose workshops.

just start

Cut Loose at Out Professionals NYC

The Power of Warm-Up Exercises

In my workshops, I introduced a 15-minute warm-up exercise where participants create a collage from a single magazine or comic book page without further instructions. Initially, the restriction caused panic, but soon, the focus shifted entirely to creation, dispelling the paralysis of choice. This experience illuminated the transformative power of just beginning, leading to a personal epiphany about the benefits of a simple, timed brainstorming session to kickstart creativity.

From Stress to Relief: The Transformation Process

Watching my students grapple with and overcome their anxieties mirrored my own experiences. The act of starting, despite an array of choices, allowed both me and my students to move past overthinking and focus on actionable steps. This shift from stress to relief underscored the unnecessary nature of mental clutter in initiating creative projects, highlighting the importance of basic tools and straightforward parameters as foundations for progress.

just start

Cut Loose Collage Journal workshop at Antler Editions

Practical Tips to Just Start

  • Breaking down projects into smaller, manageable tasks. This makes the overwhelming feel doable.
  • Setting aside dedicated “play” time for creativity without judgment. This is your time to explore without the pressure of perfection.
  • Emphasizing process over product to reduce pressure. Focus on the joy of creating, not just the outcome.

Encouraging Exploration and Experimentation

I want to motivate you to see the value in starting somewhere, anywhere, and letting your creativity lead the way. It’s important to embrace mistakes and unexpected outcomes as part of the creative journey. These are not failures but stepping stones to your next great idea. 

Taking that first step despite uncertainties can lead to surprising places. Starting has not only impacted my creative journey but has taught me valuable lessons about patience, resilience, and the joy of discovery. Just start and see what unfolds.