The Difference Between Setting Deadlines and Forcing Creative Progress

creative, creativity, timing, progress


The urge to strive towards creative progress is natural. Chasing a deadline can make you feel alive, like you are doing something worthy by taking control of things so every moment is full of focus and momentum.


On the other hand, sitting still and doing nothing can feel like you are wasting time or maybe even giving up, as if the idea or passion in your heart is a fantasy that needs a reality check.


And what if that might be true?


What if things are not going, flowing or coming together – because they aren’t supposed to yet – or ever, no matter how many deadlines you set?


Timing the Unexpected is Impossible 


creative delays, creative progress, buddha


Part of the creative flow is knowing when to acknowledge the urge to push, then letting go. When you get focused, do the work, then hand over timing of the things (that cannot be scheduled) to chance, you are doing everything in your physical power to bring creative progress into being.


At times you may feel a deep need to push, almost like an ache or a burning within you to make something happen. Yet, when you’ve done everything you possibly can in a physical sense, there’s an alignment that needs to take place. You need to wait for the seed to germinate. Others have to connect with you and your vision in their own divine timing. The message you want to share may be a bit ahead of it’s time.


The frustrating thing is that the “timing” is based on things you can’t see, know or understand when you are in a place of pushing instead of listening patiently, holding faith in your own creative abilities above all else.


It doesn’t mean you don’t have doubts or that it may turn out to be a dead end, however, spending time pushing instead of respecting the timing at play is a control issue, not an issue of deadlines, commitment or the quality of your idea.


See Delays as Check Points


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The tight spots, frustrations and detours you follow give you the insight that leads to clarity and confidence so you can move forward with a more well rounded picture and see the true scope of your creative progress in a bigger way.


It’s in the moments of quiet reflection when it seems like time has stopped and left you behind, when you ask “why me?” or “will this ever happen?”, that you are able to turn things around by asking different questions. See this time as a gift and go inward.


  • Why am I pushing so hard?
  • Is this still what I want?
  • Can I be more patient?
  • Is there a hidden pattern of pushing in order to feel more in control?
  • Am I missing an important piece of insight that is lost in my desire to “get there already?”


Embracing the slow pace is all part of what makes the road to creative progress such a rich, expansive learning experience. When you create you are not just making something to share in the world, you are going on a journey of self-discovery that helps you dive deeper into understanding yourself.


When you can step back and look deeper into your heart about why something is happening, you discover new depths of patience, a renewed sense of clarity and a sharper focus on the things that do provide what you desire. The parts that work and the parts that don’t are all along the same timeline of creative progress.


Time has not forgotten you. It just has it’s own ways of responding to your requests and hard work.


How do you set deadlines that push you and keep you focused, while also allowing room for divine timing?


Want an objective ear to help you sort out where you might be holding yourself back? Need a little support to move past a recurring block? Connect with me for a creativity coaching session. To read a little more on timing, check out my previous posts called Divine Timing for Sharing Creative Gifts and Creativity Kick-Start:Release Outdated Goals.


Photo credit: Hartwig HKD time and Buddha, Lee Haywood -checkpoint