I love to create, to take wild rides in my imagination, to make my ideas tangible. But sometimes I struggle with the last bit, with just getting started. Because for me anyway, that’s the hardest part. So I find ways to encourage myself, usually by reflecting and writing about what’s holding me back. Here’s something I wrote the other day, and it helped me. If the muse is calling to you, but you’re hesitant, maybe this could help you, too.
But I will first say this is not meant to be a pep talk, nor encouragement to be productive during this pandemic. Your physical, emotional and psychological needs come first, so whatever you need to do is what matters. But if you have the energy and time for creative activity, I hope these words help.
A meditation on getting started and creating
Instead of jumping in like, Oh let me just begin and once I do I’ll like it, let today be about intention. Take a moment to knowledge this effort is not easy, and this is sacred. You are learning something new, and you are bringing something new into the world. That can be scary, and you are doing a brave thing. Even if you share it with no one else, you’re still risking your own judgment and still working with any inner voices that may be trying to derail you, distract you, or whatever clever thing they do. So, take a few moments to say out loud, “This is not easy, but this matters to me. This is my time to create, and I am going to do my very best.”
Take three deep breaths and then begin: one tiny step. And maybe you know exactly where you’re going, but don’t be too surprised if your final work doesn’t entirely, or even remotely, resemble your original vision. It may or may not, but either way, it will be yours.
Once you are done for the day, end by taking three deep breaths again and put your hands once more on your pen, your drawing pad, your camera, and say “Thank you.” Carefully put away your materials and thank yourself for showing up. Maybe even take a bow. It can be spiritual or theatrical, but acknowledge your work and your courage. Put your hand on your heart and say “Thank you for the love of creating and for loving me enough to show up and for your courage.” Put your hand on your forehead, or gently on the top of your head and say “Thank you for your imagination, your ideas and your perseverance.” Hold your own hands and say, “Thank you for your skills, for your ability to make my dreams tangible, for your own wisdom.” And if you believe in a higher power, say thank you to that, as well. If you do not, or even if you do, think all of the artists, writers and struggling humans who have come before you, and those who for whatever reason could not find or were not allowed their voices. Thank them for the legacy of creative work, and honor those who were unable to fulfill their dreams. They, too, are part of this. Know that your struggles and your work will feed the next generations. I don’t know how this works, but I believe it does.