About Blog: Trouble With Executing (So, You're An Idea Person)

December 19, 2012

Execution (being able to execute business ventures, projects, etc in a timely, cohesive, and visually awesome way) is arguably one of the most important parts of being in the creative field. Freshmen year I took a class required for my major called 2D Design (I'm sure any art major will be familiar with it). My instructor was a young, foreign painter and claimed to have a degree heavily invested in artistic criticism. Everyone in my class could easily believe this claim as true. She was a generally nice person as she circulated the room and oversaw us working on our projects but when it came time for critiques everyone wore their battle armor. The woman was fierce and no matter how perfectly we seemed to execute if even one line was out of place, the project was too busy, the circles weren't perfectly circular, or the color wasn't perfectly solid (be damned the marks of a brush or ink pen) letter grades were taken away as easily as candy from a baby. One day she even had the audacity to tell me I wasn't successful in her class because I couldn't "execute." "Ashlee, you have some of the very best ideas in the class, but your execution of them is poor. Your craftsmanship needs major work," she admonished in her thick accent.

Sure, the second the class went on break I exited the building and then proceeded to sob like an infant. Then, I really started to think about it and came to the conclusion that execution had always been my creative kryptonite. I've written stories since as long as I can remember and I can't remember ever finishing one. No matter how many amazing plot lines I could come up with or pages I could write, I never did finish a single story. I always have had such amazing ideas for projects, but I had always been too scared or doubtful or 'busy' to follow through with them. I was always resistant for fear of the unknown or fear of failure.

So, I've embraced it...I'm an idea person and the execution part will always be hard for me. Once, I embraced this, I started trying to take measures in order to improve my execution in creative projects. A lot of creative ventures require a lot of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. It really forces you to put yourself out there which is something I've never been entirely good at. The thought of sticking my neck out there and experiencing failure, completely irked me. If I never put forth any effort into a good creative idea or venture, then I could never experience it's failure (and the heartbreak that came with that failure).

For example, I've been wanting to expand my blog into a big production (but it's so much easier to keep it into a quiet production with a loyal readership...with less people to critique my every move), start an online shop with business cards and awesomely designed prints (but what if no one wants them and I end up burning money that could be used for college?), interview my favorite bloggers for a series (but they're so cool and celebrity like...what if I'm rejected and totally embarrassed?) but I find myself always afraid to put up a final product or continue forth on getting those types of goals done. I've been stewing on these types of ideas for nearly two years.

What I find helps the idea person in me is to create strict deadlines for things like goals and projects. It literally requires me to get them done on time or face the consequences. Also, I find that allowing myself plenty of time helps combat my natural inclination to procrastinate (because I really just want to put off that whole execution thing). Plus, this extra time allows myself to indulge in the 'idea side' and allows for plenty of brainstorming and picky-perfectionist-esque planning.

Do any of you struggle with executing creative ideas? Are you an idea person or are you the great executor wishing you had a great idea to execute? Please feel free to share! I'd love to hear some feedback.

Also, check out more About Blog posts covering topics anywhere from craving community to the blog posting process

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  1. I'm not sure I like the way your teacher treated you, but you obviously did what we all should in such situations - learn from it and move on.

    Yes, I'm an idea person too. I execute quite a lot as well, but it's always the small projects. The easy wins. I've realized that I need to start focusing if I want to reach some of the higher goals. I need to free time for writing. Not only blog posts, but the stories that I have inside my head.


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