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3 Creative Hacks to Kick Start Your Next Project


It’s simple enough to understand that you must instigate to be successful.

It’s much more difficult to put this understanding to use.

And if our logical conclusions aren’t actionable, what’s the point?

Here are a few quick tips I’ve compiled from some extremely clever, creative and successful people on how they created great works (everything from successful blogs, to best-selling books and cashflowing startups).

Note: I took the liberty to elaborate on their original ideas.  If you discovered a different but noteworthy lesson that I didn’t cover, let me know in the comments below!

I hope this helps (I know it’s helping me as I start on my next major book project and an even more epic business project – more updates on that later).


Kick Start Your Next Project with the following Creative Hacks

1)  Are you having trouble finding your voice?  Mimic someone (or something) that inspires you.

Credit: Al Pittampalli (successful entrepreneur and author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting)

In a compelling and insightful interview I did with Al Pittampalli (compelling and insightful because of Al, not my interviewing skills), Al explained the first draft of his book came off a little stiff and lacked personality.

Al knew he needed to find his own voice, so he looked for inspiration and found it, of all places, in the movie Jerry McGuire.  There is a scene in the movie where Jerry, the protagonist, has an epiphany and stays up all night to write a manifesto on his business.

Al did a quick search online and found the actual manifesto (a bit of trivia: the writer of the script, Cameron Crowe, actually wrote out a full length manifesto to help Tom Cruise get into character on the movie set).  After reading the manuscript, he knew it was the perfect style for his book.

“Why don’t I try, instead of using my own voice, to use Jerry McGuire’s voice.” [Al Pittampalli]

For the next several weeks, Al woke up early in the morning (3am) and pretended to be Jerry McGuire as he rewrote his book.

Instead of losing his voice, he was able to refine and develop his own.

Thanks to just a bit of inspiration-seeking, we now have an incredibly powerful book that is uniquely Al.

2) Are people giving you advice on how to change your art?  Ignore them.

Credit: Hugh MacLeod (artist and author of Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity)

The most creative, ambitious, and daring ideas are, by their nature, personal.  So friends, family, and peers can’t help you.

Nobody can understand your art or your project better than you.  You know your art deeply and personally; others only see the surface.

The more mad or bold the art, the less likely someone can give you good advice on what to do, how to do it, or if you should even attempt it in the first place. 

“The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you.” [How to Be Creative]

Instead of asking for advice, go make your project or art the way you want it made.

3) What is the most effective technique for [place description of action and goal here] (for example: write a book, build a business, start a gang, etc.)  Answer: whichever technique is right in front of you.

Credit: Tom Morkes (yea, I’m crediting myself – that’s how I roll).

I’ve listened to hundreds of podcasts, read hundreds of books, absorbed a lot of information from a lot of different people, and put it all to work in various ways throughout my life, including during active duty military service.  You might expect there’s a unifying technique on how things ought to be done if you want to be successful.

The truth is – there isn’t.

Some writers wake up early– others work better midnight to dawn; some leaders yell a lot, others are quiet and contemplative; some entrepreneurs develop multiple businesses simultaneously, others only one and focus their entire energy behind it.

Every single writer, designer, artist, entrepreneur, leader and warrior has his own rituals, schedule, and techniques; no two share the same.

So the point is this: If you’re stuck, don’t worry about figuring out whether Twitter is better than Facebook is better than Pinterest is better than whatever for conversion.

Focus on what matters: the work only you can do, in the way only you can do it.

“Here is what you must do: Write your big stupid book, build your big stupid business, or start your big stupid blog.” [The Art of Instigating]

There’s no one right answer; only a bunch of imperfect solutions.

You won’t know which is best for you until you start (finish, and ship).

Go instigate.

p.s. what are your best creative hacks to get unstuck and kick start your project?  Let us know in the comments below!

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