The hardest and most essential part of being able to do our best work as creatives is doing it. It’s getting our hands dirty and, if we’re reaching for something bigger than ourselves, failing. A lot. Unfortunately, we live in a world of extremes when it comes to failure. As children, school teaches us that to be good is to not fail. As adults, we’re surrounded by a culture of “move fast and break things” but it seems like that has more to do with our bodies and planet than it does with our ideas and what we’re making.
Then there’s the complicated tool that is social media. On the one hand, it can provide us with a network of support to help us do our work. On the other hand, it can quickly become a way for us to talk about our work in lieu of doing it. I’ve been mostly absent from social media these past few months largely because I’ve been doing the creative work that matters to me. I use an app to auto post on behalf of my business but that’s about it. Any time I feel the desire to share something, I put that energy into what I’m working on instead.
Action is something we all struggle with, especially when our work doesn’t have traction yet. Inertia can quickly feel impossible to avoid. However, while we all have days that are difficult and where we doubt the trajectory we’ve chosen for ourselves, the antidote is always doing. It’s to continue walking the path. Step by step we’ll get to where we’re going. And even if we don’t end up where we think we’re going to, chances are, if we stay present to our process and open to new possibilities, then we’ll get to where we need to be.
I’m a doer. I throw myself into things blindly and fully. I don’t apologize for my mistakes and I don’t shy away from being the fool. Whenever I feel hesitation, I remind myself that no one was born ready. Everyone who I admire had to wrestle with themselves and their work to get to where they are now. They had to do. They had to risk humiliation, rejection, and perhaps scariest of all, acceptance. Because it’s one thing to steel ourselves to the negative, it’s something else to take responsibility for our potential.
Writing is its own kind of doing. It allows us to wrestle with resources that are not yet available to us. It allows us to try things on for size and practice looking foolish in front of ourselves. Writing gives us a way to take risks telling the stories we’re most longing to tell. And eventually, if what you’re writing gets to the heart of the creative work that matters to you, your words will spill off the page and doing will not only be a necessary next step, it will be unavoidable. None of us has unlimited time to do our best work so please use the time you do have to do.
What doing will help you become the creative you want to be?