How to know when it’s time to throw in the towel on a creative project.

How to know when it's time to throw in the towel on a creative project

I’ve been working on The Magic Journal Cards project for months now.? I LOVE these cards and want to give them my best and have really enjoyed working hard on them.

Last week I got completely stuck with this project.? Again.

To make a long story short: I have a pretty big, heavy stack of artwork that I thought were the completed deck of Magic Journal Cards and it turns out this is just another draft.? (And I had already done quite a few drafts before I started this one!)

Which means I have to scrap this work and start over.

Which is exciting because these cards are pretty cool so the next set is going to be even better.? I am getting closer to the essence of what these cards want to be.

And it’s frustrating because it feels like three months of work going down the drain.

And it’s overwhelming because how/where will I find the time to re-do all of this work?

And it’s sad because I thought I was almost done and I’m actually really far from done.

So how do I know that it’s time to throw in the towel?

I took this question to my art journal.

First, I wrote long and hard and HONESTLY about where I’m at with the project and how I feel about everything.

(This included writing about all these small irritations that I had been trying to avoid.)

Then, I connected with the energetic essence (AKA the heart and soul) of the project.? We had a good, long talk.

I have a lot of attachments to the work I’ve done so far.

But I have a even bigger attachment to doing the best work I can for this.

And this is what it came down to: I couldn’t feel good about putting them out into the world the way they were.

It wasn’t a “You’re not good enough” inner critic voice – though that was there too.? I took my inner critic into the Un-Sticking Station in the Creative Dream Circle and worked through it and transformed that fear and got to the truth underneath it: the work just wasn’t right for the project.

I really thought it was the right thing when I started.? It really felt like the right thing while I was working on it.? (And it was right, in a way, at the time – it was the thing that led me to know more about what the project needed.)

You don’t start out already knowing everything.? Knowing comes further along the path.

See – all those small things that were irritating me were signs pointing me in a new direction.? But I didn’t want to listen because I was so attached to the work I’d done and so sure that I was going in the right direction already.

I assumed they were just tiny inner critics and wanted to not let them slow me down.

But if I had carried on avoiding them their energy would have become prickly little bugs in the energy of the project.? It would have made the whole thing wonky – not just the creation of the cards, but the marketing and sales parts too.

This really is the path!

Doing the work, being present with what’s happening beneath the surface, exploring your relationship with the project, learning more about what the project needs, transforming the ick that comes up in the process, re-doing the work.

Otherwise, all of your un-processed stuff does wind up in the final work, giving it a wonky energy that will keep it from completing it’s mission – to serve the people that you are creating it to serve.

For me, what it comes down to is that I am deeply committed to the project’s mission.? So I want to do whatever I can to support it in getting there.? And in the process I do wind up all tangled up in my own stuff sometimes.

Each time I work through this process with a project I come out more connected to my intuition and creativity and I trust myself more.

This is how you grow into your potential.

So I started over.

The cards have a new look – less art and less colour and more space.? The cards wanted to be quieter, which they think will help you use them to sink deeper into your own experience while journaling.

The old deck was a combination of prompt cards and inspiration cards.? The new deck is questions.? (The inspiration cards will be done as a separate deck – which might have more colour and artwork in them.)

While working on them, I feel free and clear.

While working on the first deck, I felt delighted a lot of the time.? And sometimes I felt frustrated and unsure.? Sometimes I felt exhausted.

Now, I just feel free and clear.? The process of making these cards is quite simple and fun – a sign that I’ve worked through the stuff I needed to work through.?? And I am delighted by how it’s coming together.

This is the ultimate aim of what I wanted to do with Grow Your Depth, Nurture Your Brilliance this year.? To be more present in my inner world, to meet my resistance and fears more effectively, to transform my inner patterns more quickly… to create more space for more of my creative brilliance to shine out into the world.

While the path does get frustrating sometimes, I’m pretty happy to be here.

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