There is something ironically humorous about doing something you love, yet actively avoiding crucial aspects of the process. It doesn't make any logical sense when you think about it critically, but somehow we convince ourselves that it's "okay" when we feel comfortable applying our own personal context, or excuses to the mix.
Over numerous projects, I've become aware that I have a certain preoccupation towards this type of behavior with starting edits on personal projects. It certainly had nothing to due with my lack of excitement to work on that project, nor lack of creative direction, as I always shoot with an edit and final product in mind. There's just something about starting on the first stages of the edit, after you've done your selects, that causes me to procrastinate like a college freshman on his first exam. However, once I break through that initial stage and start to make some progress, things completely turn around and I'm "plugged in", to quote "The Social Network". Now that I'd discovered where my creative "bottleneck" was, I needed to find a more consistent method of breaking through and getting to that next step of being glued to my keyboard, driven by pure adrenaline fueled creativity.
After working on several projects where I tested a few different strategies, here are a few tips I found really helped in breaking through my creative procrastination that I thought I would share:
1. Take regular breaks OUTSIDE your edit \ color suite. I work from home, so I add an afternoon walk with my puppy; but if that's not an option, simply going outside for a few minutes of fresh air and a change of scenery really helps.
2. Just START editing/coloring/mixing, and stop thinking about it. Try things you wouldn't normally try, and if they don't work, throw them out and start over. Continue pushing yourself & working on it! It will eventually hook you as you start to mold it into your own.
3. Consider the energy you waste by procrastinating, and use that energy elsewhere. Its incredible how much time I realized I was wasted pushing off tasks instead of simply doing them.
4. Have a friend play producer and set a several realistic deadline. Having a deadline will force you to be accountable to someone besides yourself, which tends to both encourage and push you to succeed. It's also great practice for real-life situations, where deadlines are crucial and omnipresent.
5. Figure out if your procrastination is simply a mask for your fear regarding the project or task? If so, try to identify & face your fear, ideally by simply trying with an open mind. Film making & most forms of storytelling, in general, are crafts largely learning by experimentation and pushed forward by those brave enough to try when at their weakest.
6. Resist the urge to look for perfection immediately, as you'll simply encourage your procrastination. Many artists are the harshest critics of their own work, and it takes times for things to settle into places sometimes. Not even David Fincher gets what he wants in the first shot, fx, or edit, so don't allow your perception of progress (or lack of it) to encourage your procrastination.
These are just a few tips and techniques I've found that help me break my creative procrastination cycle. If you have a useful tip to share, please leave it in the comments box below.