If you’re anything like me—and it seems most creators are—you have an innate need to create and are happiest when doing so, but it’s a consistent struggle to cultivate conditions and space to create.
Life is always creeping in, like weeds in an overgrown garden that threaten to strangle out the beauty and take over the fertile soil of creativity. Our job is to take back ground and wrestle out the rubble, to continue to uncover and propagate beauty—both for ourselves and others.
Like a weedless garden, perfect conditions are an illusion. It will never happen. But you already know that. There will always be handfuls of reasons to put off starting, real or perceived hedges that form barricades too tall to peer over. But the truth is that you just need to begin. Where you are. Right now. Today.
Though ideal conditions are imaginary, the struggle to create is real and you must garner courage and silence the inner critic. Take fear hostage and dump it in the corner for a timeout. Then wade through the weeds, jump the hedge and skip off to a quiet place to create.
What is it that you’ve been putting off?
Is it that novel you’ve been thinking of writing? That painting you have in your mind to create? The garden you’ve been dreaming about designing? What is that one thing you have been imagining? The idea or concept deeply embedded in your soul like a sacred seed yet to be birthed and watered?
Here is what I’d like you to do:
- Pick the one thing you’d like to create
- Choose a realistic deadline for its completion
- Break it down into manageable bits
- Schedule time (just like appointments) to do the steps needed to tackle it
- Tell someone that you are going to do it
- Start it
- Keep going
- Finish it
That list sounds simple enough, and it is. The hardest part may be #6 followed closely by #8. The only thing standing in the way of starting right now is you… and your thought life. Everything seems more difficult before beginning, but like a garden full of weeds you’re going to need to get dirty in order to unearth beauty.
We excavate all sorts of excuses. Things like: I’m too busy. I’m too tired. I don’t want to get dirty. I need more training. It might not turn out as well as I hope. It’s too big a task. So and so is more skilled at this. I may fail (whatever that means). Not to be insensitive, but who cares?
You create for you and if you’re fortunate, it may impact another soul for good—it usually does. But even if your creation remains between you and God and never sees the light of day, that’s enough.
I believe nothing in life is wasted. Even those things that seem futile or rather unpleasant at the time. These types of uphill climbs help us to grow more sure-footed and create fertile ground for wisdom and character—priceless treasures that no amount of money can buy. But I suspect a few other priceless things will happen if you start and finish your project…
- You will gain a sense of pride in its completion
- You will learn and improve for the next project
- You will have greater confidence from having reached your goal
- You will have enjoyed the process
- Your creation may bring joy, beauty, and hope to yourself and others
I’m cheering for you—cheering for myself too—in the midst of the weeds and towering hedges. Despite our fears and imperfect forms, I’m encouraging us to start. To stop putting off what we could be doing this moment, or directly after reading this blog!
Schedule time to show up for your craft, to show up for yourself. Pull out the paper, the clay, the canvas. Open up the instrument case, the computer case, or the suitcase. Tell fear it’s off duty… then create!
“…and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.”
2 Replies to “Pep Talk for Creators”
I loved this post. Thanks Melanie.
It does sit there just below the surface. A low boil always present and intense. It is stoked by an idea or a visual or a wisp of inspiration. Once that boil rolls over into catastrophe or genius, or somewhere in between, it is difficult to clean up isn’t it? It’s mark made. It’s ignorance impossible. The brush. The pen. The knife, the seedling or whatever the raw form and instrument. Each pursuit building on the last and demanding the real estate of your most productive thought of your most productive hour?
I love your garden image. The time you would have spent in the early part, unrewarded and tired. Dirt, seeds or saps and a lot of clean up. Yet the faithful expectation that something from nothing was possible, even beautiful in the fullness of days.
I had wasted hours. Years even, engaging television programming and Hellywood film that although entertaining, were so void of substance and so rich on counterfeit morality and hollow preaching.
Sizzle is a poor substitute for steak. The creative must steak.
What an encouragement you are. Keep it up and love that great family of yours! Cheers.
How beautifully well-worded! Thank you for this insight, understanding, and encouragement. And your paintings… wow! Keep it up as well! They are so wonderful!