Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? – Elizabeth Gilbert
f you are anything like me, you have this deep and compulsive urge within you that haunts every moment of your life. *no, I am not referring to your urge to squish the cheese in the supermarket display, you sicko!
The urge I am referring to is surprisingly simple in its demands, and only ever says one thing:
You. Must. Create.
I can’t remember the first time I realised I was cursed – sorry – blessed with this innate need, but I know that I have been resisting it for just as long.
This is quite a boring thing to do, as all I am merely repeating the age old cycle of creative denial, which usually consists of three highly complex steps:
- Urge to live the best fucking creative and amazing life you possibly can
- Feeling too scared to do it and pursuing something else instead, while constantly beating yourself up about it
With the fear come the excuses, and you put following your calling off for another day or two, until another year has passed. It’s easier. It feels safe.
It is comfortable in the same way as Chinese Water Torture is comfortable. You think you’re fine at first, but drop by drop it will drive you insane.
One/two/three years ago we thought things would be different, but [SURPRISE!] they are still the same.
We are still waiting for the right moment; we are still waiting for inspiration to come; we are still waiting to “feel like it.”
In truth, we are terrified of finally finding out what would happen if we started and took action.
It’s like Schrödinger’s cat: It could be everything we ever wanted, or nothing like it – and so we are too afraid to open the box and find out which one it is.
Instead, we pursue paths that take us nowhere and choose diversion activities that involve less risk, less fear, less vulnerability, less authenticity than yielding to our calling would.
We browse the internet for hours. We do what feels easy. We avoid making the time. We over-commit to other people’s dreams and goals. We sleep. We are purposefully unfocused. We surround ourselves with and promote drama. We find thousands of excuses to never start; to never take that first step.
We suffer deep pain without purpose, and repetition without progress.
Our days are full of things to do, but nothing is truly satisfying. We go to bed and know that we didn’t do what we were put on earth to do.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll feel more like it? Yes, maybe.
Until then, we feel restless, unhappy, edgy, and trapped in a vicious cycle of misery, guilt and general dissatisfaction.
“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” – E. B. White
These feelings might seem like something negative [and experiencing them on a day to day basis definitely is], but they can also be a powerful tool for you to know when you’re honouring your core desires, and when you have lost your way.
Think of them as a compass that guides you towards where you want to be, and if you are feeling any of the emotions above it might be trying to tell you “hey, you know, this isn’t really working for you, maybe it’s time to approach this differently.”
Ask yourself this:
- What message do my feelings have for me?
- Which path are they highlighting, which path do they want me to leave?
- What actions, thoughts, and decisions make me feel more like I want to feel?
Your negative emotions are reminding you that you have cut yourself off from who you already, authentically, are, and what you know you truly want and need to do.
Living the creative’s life is purposefully dealing with your fear and self-sabotage in constructive ways, rather than avoiding it. You and I know that avoiding, or resisting our inherent creative urges doesn’t work.
There has to be a day in the present when the process of starting and taking action begins.
There has to come a time when we seize the day, rather than delegating it to tomorrow.
And that is the one thing every creative has to do to be happy:
- Acknowledge what you are afraid of
- Make a choice: Pursue or don’t pursue, but stop bullshitting yourself
- Commit to your choice
I know that as soon as you sit down to start, you will want to get up and make another cup of tea. Take a shower. Sleep. Do all those things you always do when you can’t face the loneliness and uncertainty of what you are about to do.
This time, choose to confront the struggle differently.
Set the timer to five minutes and stick with the pain, even if all you do is look at the blank page, draw a horrible sketch, take your first uncoordinated moves, watch the tutorial you need, open the book… even if all you do is suck.
Tomorrow, do it again. Then again.
When you start taking action, it feels really hard and uncomfortable at first, but not doing it always feels worse.
Stop waiting for inspiration to come. Sit down and do the work in anticipation of it.
Stop waiting for that special moment. You have to create that moment, plan that moment, allow that moment.
Every day, but only ever one day at a time.
This is for you and me,
The Good Enough Creative
A lot of us have internalised beliefs that keep us miserable + secretly thinking that our emotional suffering is a necessary [and even romantic] part of the creative process.
It took me too long to realise how wrong this is, and it's why I've created this video series for you:
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