Following Through On Creative Ideas
I can’t even remember all the ideas I’ve had over the years. Many ideas fizzled as quickly as they popped into my brain. Other ideas cost me hundreds of dollars and several hours of my life before I called it quits, from snow molds to built-in car seats to books, podcasts, and planners. I watched someone else capitalize on my ideas because they followed through while I moved on to the next shiny object.
I’ve learned the hard way that it takes fast action to turn ideas into reality. Today, I put that theory to the test and documented it for my fellow creatives! I’m guessing if you clicked on this article, you have a creative idea or two. Read on, my friend.
I woke up with a productivity idea that I originally called ‘Blocks’ (as in time blocking — which is an effective time management and goal-achieving technique). As I worked on the concept and shortened the time blocks, it became a personal growth twist on the classic game of tic-tac-toe. I named it Tic-Tac-Glow.
The “Glow” may have been subconsciously inspired by a fabulous video I saw on Instagram Reels where someone asked, “What do you do for a living?” The vlogger answered, “I glow.” I love that. It sounds like the perfect job to me! Her answer is part affirmation, part inspiration. I love affirmations and will write more about them soon.
I love print-on-demand (POD) and self-publishing. It suits my impatient and independent personality. I don’t like waiting for someone to ‘choose’ me. It reminds me of elementary and junior high school when I was the last to be chosen in gym class.
Most of my classmates knew I would rather color or read a book than play dodgeball or football. I would purposely move to the back row to avoid those bloodsports. I could also care less if I was the first one chosen to bounce on a Hippity-Hop to race to the other side of the gym. Still, it’s a blow to a child’s self-esteem to be rejected by their peers. I’m almost a senior citizen and still don’t like it, which is why I like POD.
I can choose myself and publish my creative babies whenever I want. Then using a few awesome programs and websites, I set it up once and collect royalties forever. That’s my idea of the perfect laptop lifestyle!
So, using the self-publishing skills I’ve honed over the past decade, I turned my idea into a printable and published it the same day!
Here are the simple steps I followed to make it happen. The steps may not be easy when you are first learning, but they are doable if you are determined.
- Step 1 — Write the idea down. Include supporting information and resources to help turn your idea into a reality. I use the NOTES app on my iPhone to quickly write down ideas so I don’t forget them.
- Step 2 — Create a rough draft or outline of the idea. I often use scrap paper to doodle out my idea. It gives me the freedom to be creative and write or draw all over the place — sort of like creating a mind map.
- Step 3 — Use your favorite graphic design software to create a prototype or finished draft. I love Canva. They have come a long way since they first started and continue to add valuable templates for publishing on various platforms. I want to use Adobe for my creative endeavors, but their programs have steep learning curves. I also modify templates from Creative Fabrica.
- Step 4 — Upload finished book, journal, or printable to your favorite self-publishing platform. I’ve used Amazon KDP (formerly Createspace) for years. I’m just getting started with Gumroad and Draft2Digital.
- Step 5 — Repurpose your content. The Tic-Tac-Glow idea came to me as a printable, which is an electronic PDF you can download and print out. I also plan to repurpose it as a book and journal. I may even make a video to go along with it. The possibilities are endless!
I know there is marketing and advertising that goes into making products sell. I still have to work on that end of it. Even though I’ve been an entrepreneur off and on for many years and became a certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach in 2006, I prefer creating over marketing or selling. I have the “If you build it, they will come” mindset, which rarely works!
Turning ideas into reality is a habit. It feels good when I get an idea out of my head and into the world. I recently did that with the Earth Day Nature Anthology, inspired by Jason Bayliss’ poem, Terra Mater.
I could have thought about the idea for a while, signed up for another publishing course, moved on to another shiny object (like I’ve done a million times), or forgotten about it.
Instead, I took quick action and put out a call for submissions. It was a lot of work to publish the book. I wasn’t sure I would get it out by Earth Day, but having the deadline helped. When a deadline is looming, I laser on my goal. I didn’t watch Netflix or YouTube or procrastinate on social media like I sometimes do. I gritted my way through the seemingly endless obstacles: formatting issues, computer crashed, my Facebook account got hacked, and I couldn’t communicate with my poetry groups, etc.
The result? The book was released as planned on Earth Day. I didn’t have physical copies in hand. Still, both the print copy and ebook were available for purchase when I did my Instagram Live!
I have used productivity hacks to accomplish big goals for as long as I can remember. Tic-Tac-Glow will be a fun experiment to see if it helps accomplish big goals. I believe awareness is the first step in achieving anything. What do I have to lose by giving it a go? Why do you have to lose by gamifying your big hairy audacious goals?