Just Start

Aloha friends! I’m experimenting with a new video/writing format this summer. It’s very much in the experimental stage, so thank you for indulging. While I share some thoughts on how you can keep your creative muscles flexed, I’m going to take you on a drive with me to La Perouse, on the south side of Maui. This is the site of the most recent volcanic activity on island around 1790. This morning I felt inspired to write, so I fired up the old blog that I hadn’t visited in forever. I got a little chuckle that the last post I’d made from a year and a half ago, started with this quote: “Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just… start.” – Ijeoma Umebinyuo

So here I go. Just starting. Doesn’t matter which foot I start with, but off I go.

What I’d like to talk about today is how to get back to being a creative person after having not exercised your creative muscles in awhile. First of all, most of us are pretty creative in myriad ways without even realizing it, so don’t beat yourself up if you feel like there is a part of you that you once valued that hasn’t been showing up as often, because that may or may not be the case without you even realizing it. Our creative reserves are not only tapped through our preferred modes of expression. We use our creative skills all the time – when choosing earrings for the day, when hopping like a kangaroo to get your kids to the car, when navigating sensitive conversations where you are a reluctant participant. But creativity in general is a topic for a different day. For today, I’d like to talk about the four steps you can take to get back on a specific creative train that you might have fallen off of. Perhaps, like me, you once had a consistent writing habit that has gotten put on the back-burner for over a year. Perhaps you have a camera or a guitar or some dance shoes collecting dust because there’s something holding you back from using them, whether that’s time management issues,  unhealthy habits running amok, or perhaps your own insecurities about your creative merits. Here are four steps you can take to reconnect with the creative outlets that once brought you joy and fulfillment.

STEP ONE. Start now. Start where you’re at. Start without any preconceived notions of what it will be and who it will be shared with. Don’t compare yourself to your idols or even your past self. Inspiration is your friend, but comparison is your enemy.

STEP TWO. When it is done, release it into the world with trust, whether that means you feel compelled to share it beyond yourself as I am sharing this video, or whether that means it is just for you right now. It is not perfect. It does not need to be perfect. It is not actually your baby. It should not be constantly checked on. It is not going to be for everyone. If you think it’s your baby, if you think it needs to be for everyone, if you think it needs to be constantly defended or explained or refined or perfected, you will drive yourself crazy and you will inhibit and postpone future creative contributions.

STEP THREE. That is not to say that you shouldn’t reflect and improve. What did you do well? What might you work on for next time? Don’t spend longer on this reflection than you did on STEP ONE. Learn, grow, allow yourself to be the ultimate decider on what’s good and what’s bad, and move on.

STEP FOUR. Go back to the beginning. Repeat the process. This process works best –  and many would argue, ONLY works – when it is part of your routine. Commit to a habit. Habits are best when they are manageable parts of your daily flow and chunked toward specific attainable goals. For example, I am going to commit to:

  1. 10 minutes of free writing a day.
  2. One video a week, built from this writing.
  3. Day one: Choose a topic, free write.
  4. Day two: Research around this topic and free write.
  5. Day three: Take video footage and free write.
  6. Day four, five and six: Refine and edit video, refine writing.
  7. Day seven: Share the video and let it go.

So that’s me getting back in the creative saddle! Mahalo for watching. I’d love to hear your techniques for staying creative and staying consistent. See you again soon!

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