The Courage To Launch

Editor’s note: this is C2C’s last guest post. It was written by Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse.

As anyone who has completed a creative project knows, the last 20% of the work can feel excruciating. When you approach the finish line of launching your project, your mind will become a monster, scaring you with worst-case scenarios: 

What if they hate it? Will anyone get it? Has all this been just a giant waste of time?”

And finally: “Where can I run and hide once I hit ‘send’?”

I know that terror. I felt the same way for everything I’ve ever shipped. The night before launch is “mental monster night” no matter how many times I’ve crossed the finish line.

But I’ve been making things and selling them since 1996, and I’ve finally figured out a few strategies that have helped me and my clients overcome some of our biggest “self-generated” challenges.

Are you guilty of the following:

  • Refusing to ask for help?
  • Having a rich imagination for worst case scenarios?
  • Having too many expectations for one project?
  • Having strong emotional attachments to the work?

If your creativity suffers from the above symptoms, the following strategies can help make the completion of your writing projects much less of a “mental monster-fest.” 

Get Good People On Your Team

You have been slaving away at your novel. You’re dedicated. But having this thing in your head for so long can ultimately work against you. You don’t have any critical distance about what’s interesting–or what’s a yawner.

As I prepared to launch my novel, it got really clear how much I needed outside perspectives to help manage the project in order to assess what was working, and what wasn’t. 

After some diligent research, I hired industry professionals to help me manage the work of platform building, launching, and growing my career. These people were critical not only to my strategizing, but also to how I managed the emotional and mental rigors of completing something. 

What help do you need and who can you ask for help?

Manage Your Mindset

Our creative success relies on our ability to manage our thoughts and emotions. We have to find perspectives that fuel satisfaction despite the daunting obstacles we may encounter.

Jonathan Fields of The Good Life Project advocates practices that cultivate a “success mindset.” Being able to manage your thinking and energy is vital for the intense time before, during, and after a book or product launch.

When I’m headed toward creative completion, I love practicing one of my most powerful coaching tools:  the ability to adopt new perspectives.

We often have a default perspective that’s negative and fear-based.

So, try to shift your mindset from “What if people think this sucks?” to “This project is a gift I sincerely share with people I care about, and I can’t wait to see how it impacts them!”

This mindset practice needs diligent attention, however.

When fears arise, I consciously try to nudge my thoughts toward the positive perspective I prefer.

How can you develop a “success mindset”?

Think Beyond Your Project

It’s easy to get myopic and focus on one project only. Dan Blank of We Grow Media helped me strategize my novel’s launch. He always drives me to consider my whole career, and to think about future books I might write.

It isn’t always easy to step back from the details, but taking the long view can reduce the stress of thinking that all you have is one creative project to bet on for your success.

Dan also pushed me to define my own success. By doing that, I exposed some of my limiting beliefs about what I want. I also clarified what will ultimately bring me satisfaction from my work. 

How does this current creative project fit into the bigger picture of your career?

Start Separating Yourself From Your Work

Your creative project is incredibly meaningful to you, and it should be. But your project is not you, and so you need to separate yourself from the work. Know that the feedback you get from other people is about the work itself, and not about your value as a person.

Find a perspective that helps you separate yourself from your current project. Consider it as a separate thing, with its own purpose in the world. What might that purpose be?

One way that I unplugged from “the fear of feedback” was to think about my novel as an object that would initiate conversation. Meaningful and interesting conversation is one of my greatest passions. I believe it’s my purpose to be a conversation leader. By viewing my launch from this perspective, I can think about the themes in the book and how they can become conversations that I get to initiate, and participate in.

What role does your creative project play outside of you as a person? What is your project’s purpose and how is that purpose separate from you?

The Courage To Launch

There’s a lot we can do to finish our creative projects in satisfying ways, and the four strategies I shared with you today should provide a good start to overcoming some of the pain of finally launching your creative work.

Cynthia Morris helps writers and creatives bring their ideas to fulfilling completion. Her e-book, Cross the Finish Line: Overcome the Hurdles to Completion is available at her website, http://originalimpulse.com. Cynthia’s more satisfied than ever after completing her novel. (It only took twelve years.) Find out more about this historical novel set in Paris at http://ChasingSylviaBeach.com.

How about you? Are you afraid to launch your work and finally put it out there for others to see? What helps you cross the “finish line”? Please share your wisdom with us in the comments below!

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11 comments on “The Courage To Launch

  1. Ollin says:

    I thought this was a pitch-perfect take on how to summon up the courage to launch your creative project. I’m not there yet, Cynthia, but boy am I gonna bookmark this when it comes time. I really appreciate you sharing these tips with us, they are invaluable even for those who are not launching a creative project, per se, but getting ready to share with the world something they have really been working on in private.

    An important life lesson, too.

    Thanks for being my last guest blogger. So happy it was you! You brought the series to a nice close. Awesome.

  2. Thanks so much, Ollin! I believe that it’s these emotional elements lurking at the end that cause so many of us to falter at the finish line. It takes some effort to remove our perceived obstacles and focus on taking one step at a time to drive things to completion. It’s SO worth it!

    I’m honored to be your last guest post! Thank you for all you do for us creative types.

  3. krpooler says:

    Ollin, you surely saved the best for last with Cynthia!

    Cynthia, I am amazed how much we have to negotiate with ourselves to reach our goals. You have outlined excellent points about” nudging ourselves toward positive perspectives” and hiring experts like Dan to strategize. You have shown us by your successful launch of Chasing Sylvia Beach. It is next on my list to read and I can’t wait to dig in. My novel shrine is close by to encourage me in my own journey. Thanks for inspiring and showing us the way.

    And thank you, Ollin for all you do to enlighten and inspire. What a way to end your guest post series!

    • Thanks, Kathy! What a sweet comment. It’s true: managing our minds is really job #1. Thank goodness we have good people around us like Ollin to help us to keep looking up.
      Enjoy CSB and your own writing!

  4. Thanks for this excellent posting, Cynthia! Very useful and helpful. The tips you share will help me combat the fear monster as I approach the launch of my book.

  5. Jack Dowden says:

    Very cool stuff. For the past week, I’ve been envisioning a project and moving forward with it. I’m not close to launch yet, but I hear a lot of people talking about how terrifying it can be. I’ll definitely be sure to stop back here and re-read this once I’m set. Thanks!

    • Jack,

      Good luck with your project! Don’t let the finish line daunt you. Who knows what it will be like for you at that point? Enjoy the process the whole way through.

  6. Shelly Immel says:

    Great post, Cynthia. Practical, grounded in both the mental and the emotional. These are great strategies to start cultivating well before launch date!

  7. Thanks for sharing Ollin and Cynthia. At my age, it helps me to think that my work will one day be read by my grandchildren and I imagine that it might give them hope, joy and my love through the pages. 😉

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