Hi friends! I'm guessing that by the title above, you were thinking this was going to be a post about my fitness #gains thus far. That post is coming at you this Friday - so stay tuned! I'll share about my mom-life health journey, all the progress I've made thanks to Universal Fitness Center, some of the challenges I've faced, and my new, mostly plant-based lifestyle.
That said, today's post is more about exercising and flexing your creative muscles.
I am paralyzed by creative fear about 100 times a day. The paralysis lasts a second, sometimes two - but it is constant, incessant. I wonder if anyone will even read what I have to say? I wonder if my idea is good enough? Did I use too many filters on that photo? Did I use enough natural light? There are millions of photographers, who am I to think that I can step out of my lane as a "writer" and try out different art forms? Am I being authentic to my voice and my creative vision? WTF even is my creative vision? Who I am to think that I am creative enough to have a creative vision???!!!
If it sounds exhausting, that’s because it is. How the hell am I supposed to gain creative confidence, if this endless tirade of negativity perpetually sloshes around my already foggy/sleep-deprived mom brain?
The other day I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (thanks for introducing it to me, Dad!), The Good Life Project.
In this episode, Jonathan Fields interviews one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert (you can read more about my obsession with her here). They talk about creativity and passion, and ultimately imperfection. She goes on to use the example of a plate of food arranged to perfection, something you might find at a restaurant that hires world-renowned chefs. That dish will be beautiful, a true masterpiece in its complexity, depth, and artistry. However, when you compare that to, say, a simple dish of gnocchi set before you by an Italian grandmother who has been making it for years... It has the potential to transport you, to make you weep into your bowl it is that. good.
Which would you prefer?
That Italian grandmother did NOT go to a fancy ass culinary school. She has, however, practiced and practiced and practiced her craft - to the point where her potatoes are making people cry like babies. Gimme all the gnocchi!!!
To practice something is to do something. To continue to do it despite obstacles or challenges.
Practice [prak-tis] noun
habitual or customary performance; operation 2. habit; custom 3. repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency 4. the action or process of performing or doing something
In an effort to move beyond the idea that I am a “writer,” and actually become one - well, I have to write. I really have to put in the work. THEN I have to share that beast. Even if it’s not ready, even if it’s not perfect.
One last point of inspiration before I sign off: I have gone and found myself an accountability partner! I love that the minimalists recommend checking in with said accountability partner for 60 seconds. Literally who can’t take ONE minute out of their day to write up a quick note about what they accomplished and what they wrote about? I’ll admit, the sitting and doing piece was a challenge. Not only do you have to sit and do, you have to sit and do and fight off the creative monsters that are whispering this is bad, erase, do not pass go, do not collect $100, do not post that, you suck…
KILL FEAR WITH ACCOUNTABILITY
For years I wanted to be a writer, but I was terrified to write. What if people judge me? What if my writing is bad? What if, what if, what if? Paralyzed by fear, I remained inactive and unproductive, always postponing until “tomorrow.”
To overcome this fear, find an accountability partner: a spouse, sibling, coworker, or loved one—anyone who’s willing to help for 60 seconds a day. Then, report to your partner each day via email, and include: a) how long you sat in the chair, b) what topic you wrote about, and c) why it was a good or bad day for your writing. It takes less than a minute to send this email, and the benefits are disproportionately positive. Try it for a month: you’ll watch your fear disintegrate.
How do you get past your creative monsters? What do they look like? I just thought of a super fun, super nerdy writing exercise: unleashing a Creative Bogart, and writing through what your Riddikulus charm would look like. #dontjudgeme #harrypotterforlife
Until next time, friends.