“The hardest part of creativity is just getting started. We tell ourselves why we shouldn’t write the words, or stroke the brush, or play the note. We tell ourselves that we don’t have this or enough of that in order to become the author, the artist, or the musician we might seeourselves becoming. We tell ourselves that we don’t have any business being part of the creative world because we are not worthy, or not good enough, or skilled enough. We tell ourselves that we shouldn’t even try because we will only get hurt and humiliated, and that we should stick with what we know. Our creative craft never gets better, because it never begins, because of these fears and excuses. “
I recently had a conversation with someone close to me and we were talking about the challenge of overcoming the fear and resistance that meets one before the creative process even takes place. I had told them that I was attempting to write my first novel (more on that later), and how daunting the idea of this was, having been new to the novel writing process. The fear and daunting nature of this creative endeveor were comprised of a few things.
One, this being a new venture and medium for me, I quickly began to think about those experienced writers out there, educated, fully immersed, and well versed in this specific creative medium. I thought about the very best and the legends of, and at the height of this trade, and those with the peak refinement of their craft. I began to compare my novice self to their expert level of skill and their credentials and I quickly began to be discouraged. I started to tell myself that I have a lot of audacity to even want to try my hand at this, given the well established names that exist in this world and the historical relevance of this particular medium, i.e. writing books. This fear of not being worthy or skilled enough compared to those who were, discouraged me from even trying my hand at it.
A second form of resistance surfaced, when considering the idea of writing my first book. This was a scarcity of resources that I began telling myself , existed, and were reasons why it was futile to even try. This scarcity of resources, were things like, I don’t have a person in the literary world to help my writing, proofreading, and to bounce ideas off of. I don’t have an educational background in this thing. I don’t have the means or adequate research tools to validate my writing. Things like, who is going to listen to little old me, that is not a professional expert in what he is writing about. Again, it was more excuses on why not to try, and in this case it was because I don’t have enough of this or that.
The third barrier that confronted me before I even started to write my first word, was comfort and complacentcy. There were things that I was comfortable with, had invested a lot of time in, and decent enough at, specifically in the creative world, that had me telling myself that I should stick with what I know or am good at and not try anything new, like writing. If I were to try something new and uncertain, I risk failure or risk finding out that I might not be good at it. By leaving the comfort zone of what I know I can do and am familiar with, I were to risk facing criticism and rejection from others. And again, it was more excuses on why I shouldn’t try, because this wasn’t in my wheelhouse and wasn’t something that I was use to, or knew I could be good at it.
Good news is that despite all of this resistance and excuses, I decided to plow forward and try my hand at writing a book. After unpacking all these excuses I was telling myself, I realized they were nothing more than excuses born from my fear of failure and uncertainty. I thought a lot about my other creative endeveaors and skills and I realized that with those, I was once in this exact starting position of fear and apprehension. It wasn’t until I discarded these kind of excuses and just started the creative process before I gained any kind of confidence, momentum, or refinement. I also thought about other creative endeveours that were failed, and how with many of them I didn’t learn that I truly disliked them or decided to cease doing them until after I began the process, or tried my hand at them. I thought about the growth process and refinement of creative craft and how it can only take place after that first stroke of the brush or first note is played. Sure, misstrokes take place and bad notes are played along the way, but they are part and partial of the learning and growth of the creative process.
By silencing our internal chatter and diving in and then fully immersing ourselves in the creative process and not worrying about the background or baggage, beforehand, and not focusing on the results or outcome that take place after, we allow ourselves to begin the creative process and truly see the creative process all the way thru its life cycle. The authenticity that comes from being fully immersed and indulgent in the creative process itself and not focused on the external before and after, of the process, makes us worthy of any of our creative comtemporaries, regardless of status , accolades, or accomplishments. This is because the process itself is everything and we must put everything into beginning and completing the process itself.