There’s your chair, of course. Perhaps you like to have the height just right, close to the desk but not bumping, arm rests near your elbows but not touching. Perhaps you’re one who just slumps into the couch cushions, laptop balanced like a budget.
Then there’s the temperature. You have your own formula, of course, whether that’s wearing a heavy sweater with the thermometer on the cold side, or shirtsleeves in a room that’s balmy and ripe.
Perhaps you like to be at your regular table in the local coffee shop, latte within reach, cell phone off to the side. Perhaps you prefer your home or perhaps your office, or maybe your creative work makes its best appearance in some other venue.
Do you like to do research before you start, or do you prefer to do research along the way? Are you a talker or a listener, a maker or a thinker, a reader or a writer? Are you thinking about working through a tutorial or two on that new piece of software? Do you need to review the relevant federal regulations for your industry? Maybe there’s some smart time you should spend to research market trends, client needs, technical processes?
To prime the pump you probably ought to answer a few emails, get into a work frame of mind.
While you’re thinking of it, before you get started, perhaps you ought to throw a load of laundry into the machine—y’know, just to maximize the time you’re trying to work.
Are you serious about this or are you just playing? There’s no shame in admitting that you might have trouble getting started on a project that someone else assigned to you. But if it’s your own, if it’s ostensibly something built out of your own dreams and desires, you have no other recourse beyond gathering your courage and jumping into the frozen river. You either have something to say or it’s not that important to you. Harsh? Nope. There’s no shortcut to getting work done. There’s no excuse that makes sense if answers always point back to you trying to leave the starting line. External forces holding you back? That’s a little different. That’s a hard, painful situation—legit if it’s legit—and as one creative to another I sincerely feel for you. But fidgeting and fussing over non-sensical distractions is only an indication that your desire to see this thing through ’til the end—whatever it — is not as strong as your urge to resist doing the work.
The first, biggest, and best way to insure success at any creative enterprise is simply to get started. Get started, keep going, don’t stop. If you really have something to say, you will, and you’ll figure out all sorts of important stuff along the way. But if you try to perfectly prepare yourself before you get started, you’ll be doing prep and organization until the stars grow cold in deep space.
Get started already, and cast your own light.