I Don't Know How You Do It

How to Start and Finish Your Creative Project, minisode with Jessica Fein

October 10, 2023 Jessica Fein Season 1 Episode 39
I Don't Know How You Do It
How to Start and Finish Your Creative Project, minisode with Jessica Fein
Show Notes Transcript

"I don't have time." "I can't stay motivated." "I lose steam after a couple of days."

Does this sound familiar? You have a creative project in mind, but with work, family, and other responsibilities, it feels impossible to find the time to start and finish it. 

Listen in and learn about the ten ways I moved my project from dream to reality, writing my book while working full time and caring my complex family needs.

In this episode, you'll be able to:

  • Discover ways to start...and finish your creative project while balancing all your other responsibilities. 
  • Learn how to shift your mindset from aspiration to action, and unleash your creative potential through the power of declaring intentions.
  • Find out how to reprioritize and reclaim valuable time, so you can finally make progress on your creative projects.
  • Discover the importance of scheduling project time as a non-negotiable commitment, and unlock the confidence to prioritize your own creative pursuits.
  • Learn the art of breaking down your projects into smaller tasks and setting achievable goals, and overcome overwhelm to stay focused and motivated.

*Special bonus: visit Jessicafeinstories.com to get your free copy of the "Crash Course in Creative Project Success" ebook, including a special bonus of *50 creative project ideas*

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Order Jessica's memoir, Breath Taking: A Memoir of Family, Dreams, and Broken Genes

Music credit: Limitless by Bells


[00:00:00] Welcome back to the show. Today's episode is quite a bit different. I want to talk about one of my own I don't know how you do it experiences. So it's a much shorter episode, we can think about it more like a minisode. And I want to talk about how it is that I was able to write a book while working full time and caring for three kids, one of whom required intense medical care 24 hours a day.

Because when people hear about that, they're like, Oh, I don't know how you did that. I could never do that. I don't have enough time. And I think you could do it and we do have enough time and so that's really what I want to talk about today. My memoir, Breath Taking, is coming out in May by the way. It is available for pre-order now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or better yet bookshop.org, so you can find it there. 

But what we're going to talk about today is that in thinking about how did I do it, how was I able to find [00:01:00] the time and to get that done, I came up with 10 things that were key to being able to write the book, go through the publishing process of finding an agent and a publisher while working full time and caring for my family.

Now, maybe you want to write a book, maybe you want to do something else. Maybe you want to build a canoe, which is what my husband is doing right now, or redesign your living room or some other thing that's calling to you. It really doesn't matter what your project or your goal is. I think that these 10 things can be relevant no matter what.

So I'll speak about it mostly in terms of how I used it for writing, but remember, it doesn't matter. It's really about pursuing something that's calling to you outside of your normal things that you do over the course of the day. I've also created a guide, so you can see all of these in writing. If you want to get that, just visit my website, jessicafeinstories.com [00:02:00] and you can have a guide with the 10 ideas I'm going to be discussing today, as well as a special extra bonus. Okay, here we go.

Number one, say it out loud. What I mean by this is there is a big difference between thinking or saying, I want to do x and saying, I'm doing x. So for example, there's a huge difference between saying I want to write a book, which by the way, apparently 80 percent of Americans say they want to write a book.

If you say I want to write a book, that's very different from saying, I am writing a book. Once you go to the place of, I am doing this thing, your idea is no longer a fantasy. You've now moved it from a theoretical something that would be great to do to a reality. I mean, there are a lot [00:03:00] of things I'd like to do.

I'd like to move to California and I could say all day long, I'd like to move to California. Okay, but if I just shift the words slightly and say, I'm going to move to California. Now I start thinking about it differently. Now I can start thinking about what steps do I need to take to be able to move to California.

When I say I am writing a book, okay, what does that mean? What are the first things I need to do? So shift the way you think about your thing and say it out loud. I am doing X. 

Number two is really closely related to that because once you've claimed that you are doing the thing, Act as if. Act as if. I love this one.

You may have heard it before, but acting as if is a great way to try on what it will feel like to be doing the thing. So what I mean by this is if you act as if you are a writer, you're going to [00:04:00] start listening to dialogue differently. You're going to start carrying around a small notebook. You're probably going to start writing because you're acting as if you are a writer.

If you act as if you're a photographer, you might be more comfortable to pull out your camera when you see something that grabs your attention. It changes the energy. Now, some people might call this manifesting. That is surely not my area of expertise, and I know There are whole podcasts dedicated to manifesting, but the idea is to believe this thing is going to happen.

I'm acting as if it already has happened. It changes the energy. In the best case scenario, you'll tell somebody you trust and ask them to hold you accountable. But even if you just say it out loud to yourself and act as if you are claiming the intention, you are enhancing your motivation and you are taking that first step in turning your vision into action.

Number three, find time. Now, note, I am not saying make time. We do not get to make [00:05:00] time. Time is already there. We make dinner. We make an appointment for a mammogram. We don't make time. Time is there. You have the time. You're just using it in a different way. So how can you reprioritize? How can you take the time that is already there and use it?

toward your goal. There are so many ways to do this. I'll give you a few ideas. You can first of all use an app that tracks how much time you spend on social media each day. Watch that add up. First of all, it's kind of shocking, but second of all, you can use that time for your project instead. Here's another idea.

Wake up 15 minutes earlier. You're not going to notice over the long term. 15 minutes less sleep, but even just putting 15 minutes a day to your project, that's going to add up over time. If you have a partner, give each other a night off. This is something that my husband and I did for years, and it was such a lifesaver.

Thursday night was my night off. Tuesday [00:06:00] night was his night off. And so I knew all day, all week, that I had that night to myself, and that was a big, big time for me to work on my book. Another idea, use your commute. Even if you're driving, you can listen to podcasts that inspire you on the topic. You can use the speech to text app on your phone.

So there are a lot of ways you can use the commute. Same thing for working out. If you're on the elliptical, why not be listening to a podcast or working out your project and talking about it out loud into your phone? You can use your lunch break if you're in an office situation and you get a lunch break.

If you have little kids, you can use nap time. Is there anything you are doing now that can be delegated to somebody else? The time already exists. It's about how you use it. For me, I wrote a lot of my book while I was at my daughter Dalia’s bedside. She had a mitochondrial disease, which meant she had an energy deficiency and she napped a lot.

And so on those nap days on the weekend, I [00:07:00] would sit by her bedside and work on my book. I would also do it once she was asleep at night, I would sit by her bed and work on the book. 

Number four, schedule it. Put project time in your calendar and treat it like you would any other non movable, non negotiable appointment.

Even if you're only allotting 15 minute blocks, put them in the calendar. Now, some people will say you should tend to your project every day. I really like that because it keeps it alive for me. Other people say, okay, even if it's just you're working on it on the weekends, or you can time batch, either way is fine.

But put it in the calendar because that's going to keep that project moving and it's going to make you adhere to the time that you've allotted to it. If you end up skipping a day, okay, so you'll get back on it the next time, but definitely schedule it. And if you live with people, tell them, this is my time.

You can even put a note on the door. Mama's at work. 

Number five. Break it down. [00:08:00] This is such a good time of the year to start a project because you can figure out what you want to get done before the year ends. When you are sitting there on New Year's Eve, what will make you feel like, I am so glad I accomplished that thing, right?

So maybe you want to have the outline for your book. Maybe you want to have the first three chapters. Maybe you want to have your book proposal or whatever your thing is. So figure out where you want to be on December 31st and break down what you need to do. Every day or every week to make that happen, schedule your daily or weekly goals in your calendar again, write them down.

Now, I also think it's important to be ambitious, not at the cost of being realistic. It's more important to be realistic than ambitious, but try to be somewhat ambitious about what it is you want to get done, break it down into bite sized pieces, and don't get overwhelmed. and don't give up. Number six, toss out limiting beliefs.

If you are worried you're not good enough to [00:09:00] spend time on your project, you are making excuses. If you say, well, I can't write, why would I devote time to writing a book? Who am I kidding? Okay, that's an excuse. First of all, who gets to decide what it means to be good enough? Second, the only way you're going to improve is by doing the thing.

You're not going to be a better writer if you're not writing. Remember also, what you're working on doesn't ever have to be seen by anybody else. Also it's not really about being good enough. It's about having fun, being inspired, and all the other. Benefits of creative endeavors. Part of this is remembering that perfection is the enemy of progress.

If you noodle over a single sentence for two weeks, it's going to be a really long time before that book gets done. I'm a fan of quickly and poorly. Get it done. You can go back and revise. There is nothing more intimidating than a blank page. Number seven, don't be shy. [00:10:00] Whatever you're thinking of doing, whether it's writing a book or something else, someone else has already done that thing.

Find that person and reach out. The person will be flattered, I promise. Or, find somebody else who's exactly where you are in the process and see if they want to be your accountability partner. We all know that we're more likely to stick to a goal, whatever that is. I mean, exercise is such a good one when you have a partner.

And you can hold each other accountable. You can check in with each other. If you don't know anybody, let social media be your matchmaker. You will find a ton of people who want to be doing the same thing or, or, who have done it already. 

Number eight, celebrate milestones, or as Kelly Cervantes talked about in Episode 10, celebrate your Inchstones. Wrote your first page sketched your first design that is cause for celebration. Now personally I'm preaching a little bit more than I practice on this one because it's something I'm still trying to get better at [00:11:00] I tend not to pause and celebrate I tend to say okay time for the next thing time for the next thing but I do think it's important so for me this one is aspirational and important to include. 

Number nine, reward yourself. Now, rewarding yourself is different from celebrating. What I'm talking about is rewarding yourself for doing the work. Maybe it's much more fun to watch another episode of Succession than it is to write the next chapter. So, tell yourself when I'm done writing the next chapter, I get to watch that episode of Succession.

Maybe you'd rather take a nap than do whatever the next thing on your broken down schedule list is. But if you do the thing first, then you allow yourself to do the thing that might feel a little bit indulgent or that might be easier. Again, if it's important to you to be writing your book, to be building your canoe, you've got to actually do it.

And lastly, number [00:12:00] ten, start tomorrow. You're not going to start today. Today, you listened to this podcast, you listen to this episode, you're beginning to think about it, maybe you want to listen again, because I know it was super quick. But hopefully you've been inspired. And now you can get out your calendar and block some time for tomorrow to get started.

So those are my 10 ideas, my 10 things that helped me write a book while doing all the other things, saying it out loud, acting as if, finding time, scheduling it. Breaking it down, tossing out limiting beliefs, not being shy, celebrating Inchstones. Rewarding yourself, and starting tomorrow, and remember you can get all of these ideas and an extra bonus if you go to my website, Jessicafeinstories.com. I hope you like this minisode. I'd love to know what you think your feedback is so important to me. You can reach out on Instagram @feinjessica or at my website, jessicafeinstories.com [00:13:00] and I'd love to know if you try any of these tactics and how they work for you. Thanks so much for listening.

Have a great day.