The word project comes from the word proiectum.
It means, something thrown forth. This is the core of what it means to be prolific. Throwing things forth. Melting the glaciers within you. Finding a productive obsession that galvanizes you and serves your meaning making efforts. Brainstorming and creating and organizing and executing ideas and enlisting smart people to help you fulfill your vision.
Not to mention, discovering the ecstasy within the process of the work itself and experiencing sublime joy of seeing things come together to produce an artistic whole.
That’s a project.
But when you’re an artist, somebody who makes a living launching projects, the hardest part is deciding which one to work on next. Uncovering a new and exciting idea with enough momentum to catapult you out of creative limbo.
Because you can’t force it. And creative people make this mistake all the time. They start working on a project they want to want, but in their hearts, it’s not the best use of their time and talents. It’s just some silly, puny, uninteresting pursuit that does little for the world.
It may help to scoot boredom out the door, but ultimately, it doesn’t point them in the direction of reality and accomplishment. It doesn’t serve their meaning making efforts.
I recently found myself in between projects. It happens every year. Usually late summer, I get restless right on schedule.
But this time, instead of standing in the void and taking a good, hard whiff of the impending meaninglessness, I reverse engineered the process and built a framework to catapult me out of creative limbo.
A structured brainstorm, if you will. Simply by asking myself a series of strategic questions, and then populating as many answers for each one as I could, I had generated a one page map of project possibilities:
What problems can I solve? What skills can I use? What interests can I mine? What themes can I address? What markets can I serve? What assets can I leverage? What technology can I use? What change can I create? What projects can I emulate?
That’s how the brain works. Once you empty it on a piece of paper, all you have to do is sit back and listen for what wants to be written.
The point is, if you’re a project junkie like me, somebody who constantly needs a mental task to bite into, somebody who needs to feel engaged and tested and stretched, make it easier on yourself.
Use this framework to uncover and nurture an idea that fascinates you into something real in the world.
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How do you know what your next project will be?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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