Creative beginnings are never easy. Even the most experienced creative practitioners deal with the intimidation of creative beginnings.
Just the thought of beginning something new can trigger any worn-out narratives you have lined up from your inner naysayer and send choruses of self-doubt singing on cue. Even when there is creative confidence, you may hold back from starting a creative endeavor because of the high expectations you have set for your creative outcomes. But the worst, let’s face it, is that part of you that just doesn’t fully trust the creative process and dreads or fears being a beginner once again.
The wonderful truth is that we are lucky to be beginners every time we start the creative process. The more we befriend our inner beginner, the more we will enjoy the depths of our own creative capacities.
Beginning requires you to embrace that awkward pass from imagination space to reality. Filled with equal parts excitement and anxiety, you enter unknown territory not knowing what you will discover. But you do it because all the times before have taught you that entering creative action leads you to find truth and inspiration. It is the place where you can experience emotions, and where you can openly make sense of all that stuff turning around in your head and in your soul.
The action of beginning is that part of your deepest self that understands and just knows, that if you trust the intention, and you embrace the unknowns, the creative process will lead you in the right direction.
Once you begin you’ll ask yourself, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?“
Three weeks ago I was faced with a creative beginning. My idea was to begin sharing a sneak peek into my personal daily creative practice. For months I had been toying with ideas about developing a space for daily shares. By the end of the summer, I decided to commit to one idea. Not all of the pieces about the idea’s reality were put in place before I began, but the intention to begin was there. By the time I got to the starting line and dedicated myself to crossing it, the idea had morphed itself into a simple share of creative prompts and a behind-the-scenes view of my creative process. I would execute the idea using Instagram as the tool.
I set the first of the month as my “go” day, and when that wonderful day arrived I dove in headfirst. I trusted my process even when my inner naysayer threatened me. I am glad I followed through because what happened after I pushed “share” was a surprising and unexpected positive creative journey that I am still on as I write this blog post.
Beginning (no matter what) taught me (as it always does!) that what lies on the other side of the creative starting line is a world of creative evolution, personal growth, deep wonder, and new inspiration. The beginning was more than just sharing, it was all that the intention was filled with; reconnecting to my personal creative practice and connecting with other creative people.
Had I fallen into the trap of the expectations of creative outcomes I would have missed the experience to grow my idea into something I didn’t even know was there. Sometimes you have to begin just to get the ball rolling. Inspiration enters when you are in creative action, and it surprises you, especially when you don’t know exactly where you are headed with it.
Crossing the starting line is the first step, but you have to keep going if you want to build your creative momentum. When I made the intention to begin sharing my creative practice I also committed to doing it every day. I didn’t decide this on my own. In fact, I took tips from the creatives before me who found success in the following mantras, “show up every day” and “keep going”.
And so I do.
Create something every day.
Recently, I discovered that many of my favorite modern-day creatives and artists grew their work through creative beginnings that revealed themselves as self-invented 30-day creative challenges. Some claimed that the challenge pushed them to show up every day even when they didn’t feel like it, and others stated that it helped them get past creative blocks. Learning this about artists that I admire led me to investigate more 30-day creative challenges that have empowered hundreds of creatives worldwide to build their creative momentum.
What I gained from this investigation was the observation and clear insight that the set up of a 30-day practice as the main creative constraint, helps to offer a purpose and a reason for people to cross the starting line. The concept of a daily challenge offers a polite nudge if you are stuck behind the line, especially if you are asking yourself how to begin.
With my Instagram daily posts, I originally thought I would focus on a 30-day challenge, but I had a gut feeling that it could go much further than that so I left the time frame open. I decided to stretch myself by going beyond creative expectations and to center solely on the creative process. Currently, I am standing on Day 23 of my Creative Dailies, and after catching the momentum that three weeks has presented, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Here are a few creative challenges that I recommend if you would like to cross the creative starting line and begin today:
Begin again…and again.
Today, I face another creative beginning. Starting this blog. But this beginning feels easier than it did three weeks ago. It feels more natural, more fluid, and more like a continuation than a beginning.
The chorus of unsupportive narratives has come to a light hum. I trust the process and the practice fully, and I do it for myself. I also continue to look to other creatives for support because that is what sharing is really about.
Writer and artist, Austin Kleon, recently inspired me with his blog 15 years of blogging (and 3 reasons I keep going), which celebrates his reasons to keep going. He said,
“I didn’t start a blog because I had something to say, I started a blog to find something to say.”– Austin Kleon
Kleon couldn’t be more right. And it is more clear to me now than ever before. And so, I begin a new path to discovery today. Right now. Not tomorrow. Not next month, or next year. Not when I become a better this or a better that. But now. I begin now.
And so can you.