As creatives, we’re often guilty of spending so much time creating a master plan in our heads that we never actually get around to realising that master plan and getting it off the ground.
If you’ve ever lain awake at night putting together the pieces of a grand strategy for world domination (but never actually implemented that strategy) you might be suffering from ‘idea debt’.
In Imagining Your Future Projects Is Holding You Back, Jessica Abel argues that the struggle with ‘creative sunk costs’ – the oceans of time we often invest in planning everything down to the last detail – often holds you back from actually realising anything.
I can relate to this completely. I spent two years (an ocean of time, indeed) planning Tiny Books. I spent so much time thinking through every detail that I forgot the most important detail… to actually finish a book. I’m sure you can relate to this too.
Abel quotes Kazu Kibushi, who states:
I try not to to look at what I’m going to do as this [grand vision]. I’m not just fulfilling some old promise that I made a long time ago. Now I’m actually solving problems in the moment, and that’s so much more exciting than than trying to fill years of what I call my ‘idea debt’.
The truth is, no matter what you do, it will never be as great as it is in your mind, and so you’re really setting yourself up for failure.
Abel’s article is well worth reading and – if you recognise the tell-tale symptoms while reading it – it might just equip you with the self-awareness to pause when you find yourself racking up a huge overdraft of idea debt.
Grand plans are all well and good, but you need to make something. You need to start!
If you identified with this affliction you might enjoy Start! Stop Procrastinating and Pursue Your Passion, my first book on Tiny Books. Sign up for the newsletter to be notified the moment it’s ready. True to my word, the book’s with my editor – Owen Gregory – for the final set of edits, now.