To create takes courage.
It’s an easy thing to say. Sounds simple, right? But to actually sit down and do the work of creating. This is in that confounding category of things that are simple, not easy.
A little about my creative process
Always when I write, it is a total surprise to me what is going to come out on the page. This is the same way I paint, and work in my sketchbooks and journals.
For years I practiced being tolerant, even comfortable with the unknown territory of the blank page. Now, it’s one of my favorite things in the world. But it wasn’t always that way.
How I write
I begin with what I know, and sometimes all I know is the date. I might have a general idea of what I’d like to write about, but most of the time I don’t. The general idea might be a simple topic. So I write this down on the paper, like a prompt.
The ideas begin to flow once pen is put to paper. And this is because I’ve spend years practicing the art of sitting down and writing.
Which is sitting down and confronting the blank page.
Which is a continual practice in confronting fear.
Fear that I won’t have anything to say. Or that what I say doesn’t matter. Things like that.
Doing creative work takes courage. It takes practice. It takes consciousness.
Courage and practice and consciousness grow from doing the practice.
It’s a positive feedback loop that provides structure and support for creating.
Which is daring to make up something out of nothing.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Anais Nin said that.
The photo that goes with this post is a close-up of one of the pages in a tiny visual journal I created. It was tiny, because I was traveling for a year and needed something portable.
I was on a pilgrimage of the heart, meaning I was actually having a sort of breakdown of my life as I knew it, and I gave it a fancy title while I went on a bunch of retreats and tried to get myself together.
Along the way I filled this tiny journal with wisdom from other artists and spiritual teachers who gave me courage to keep going.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going,” something Winston Churchill said, is also in this same journal.
This is just one example of what keeping a creative journal can be and do. Sometimes, a creative journal is a lifeline of inspiration.
How about you?
Have you ever thought of courage as an ingredient in creative action?
What shrinks you back from working? What do the fearful voices say?
What might your wise self say in return? The part of you that is expansive, and courageous?