Create ‘smackdab’ in the middle of your life!
Posted April 27, 2009on:
Getting started is one of the hardest things about trying to get into one’s creative groove. Although I teach that getting started anywhere in the process is a good thing, I sometimes struggle, too, with ‘just doing it’. We are usually waiting for some perfect moment, inspiration, family life or paycheck, to dive in. The truth is, we must consistently remind ourselves that a daily few minutes of engaging our creative impulses will nourish us more deeply than thinking, wishing and hoping that we might stumble upon a perfect few hours.
Today, as I was furiously searching through thirty journals for ‘just the right insight’ to post to this blog, I was reminded of a coaching session a few years back.
I was teaching a creativity workshop about and I had opened with the idea that it’s good to get started on one’s creative project first thing in the morning, even if for just ten minutes. Getting connected to your creativity early in the day a) keeps you connected to what you love and sets a good tone for the day and b) allows you to not obsess the rest of the day about when you are going to get to your songwriting, journaling, choreographing, etc, done and c) keeps you regular in the creative ‘release’ dept, just like having flax seeds with cereal or eating a few prunes. A woman raised her hand and said “absolutely no” to my idea. Tremors of agreement began circulating amongst the other participants. She explained to the group that she had three cats and seven dogs and they needed various care in the morning (feeding, walking, petting, etc). She very firmly said that it would be impossible and unfair of her to reorder their lives so that she could write. This viewpoint seemed completely reasonable to her and all of the participants in the workshop began voicing their ‘reasonable’ concerns about beginning one’s creative endeavor in the morning (kids, work schedules, etc). I was completely sympathetic to the issues raised, but as the workshop presenter it was also my job to have us really look at all the ways (and tricky reasons), we keep ourselves from pursuing what we love to do. Indeed, the woman who had voiced the objection was there because she had struggled for years with writer’s block and manifesting other creative projects. Unlike many others there, she had a supportive partner and did not have to work outside the home. So, I asked my friend with the many cats and dogs and said, “When you die, do you want to be known for being the best at keeping to a morning schedule of the feeding of your cats and dogs? Or, do you want to be known as the person who finished her novel which was one of her heart’s desires?”
I could have also used the line I love by the creative guru SARK: “Do you have time to never do it?”
We all have perfectly seeming legitimate reasons for not doing what is necessary to get our creative work done. Your reason might not be about feeding numerous cats and dogs, but it might be about a long commute to work.
But, we also have a finite amount of time in the day and most of us are too exhausted to work on anything creative after our day jobs. So, think about it. Is there a way that you can get up 10-15 minutes earlier to work on whatever is your heart’s desire? If you have a partner or spouse, can you talk with them about getting support for your morning’s creative pursuits? If the answer is consistently no, look at your reasons. Speak them out loud and think about how they might sound during your eulogy.