Photo courtesy W10
If you’re reading this post and you’re mentally beating yourself up about not doing ______ creative thing that you’re supposed to be doing–the writing or painting or freelancing or crafting you want to do, hope to do–I want to ask you to do one thing:
- Take a deep breath and sit still. Pray. Ask for help with the work you want to bring into the world.
Ask. Boldly. Yes, you can pray about this. It’s important.
Now open up your eyes, and keep reading.
Your work starts there. With that prayer. If that’s all you can manage today, it’s enough. Enough! Keep praying until you’re ready to take the next step. Because the work doesn’t come out of anxiety, or fear, or guilt or emptiness, it comes out of fullness and blessing and glorious collaboration, and the first step is getting there. And you won’t get there by beating yourself up. I pinky-swear.
I have been in that place of fear and dryness many times, but I kept asking for help, and I received.
You will too.
And if you’re still reading, and you’re wanting to do something else about your dreams out of joy and excitement, then try this:
- Find a book. I’ll list a few that I’ve found helpful, but you could also go to Amazon, or your favorite local bookstore, and browse. Look through the books in your area (mine is writing, but maybe yours is small business, or handicrafts, or graphic design) and see if there’s something that appeals to you. Something that makes you feel excited about creating, about dreaming, about doing.
Here are some of my favorites for general inspiration (no, these aren’t affiliate links):
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. This one helped me get started when I was alone, depressed, and unable to understand how I’d ever start writing seriously. It was like a candle for me keeping the darkness at bay.
Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Ormand
Your Money or Your Life (This is a financial book, but it may well free you up to do work, if money is something standing in your way).
Then, buy the book (just buy one!), and take it home. Read it slowly. If it gives you homework, do it joyfully (and if it’s making you feel worse, put it aside and go back to the bookstore). If it gives you ideas, write them down. Try to experience the book as deeply as possible.
Still want to do more? Try this:
- Buy a tool. Invest in one thing related to your craft that you might normally hesitate to buy yourself. For me, it’s been a nice notebook, or nice pens or once, a computer. For you it might be new paintbrushes or pencils. It might be a helpful e-book, software, an hour of babysitting, a new chef’s knife, something related to your passion. If you have to, eat PB&J for a while until you’re able to afford it. Investing real money in yourself is a vote of confidence that will reap big dividends.
(If you struggle with overspending, make sure you only buy one thing. Wait to buy more until you are confident you’re using the first one. You don’t need clutter. You need a tool you love and will use.)
- Tell someone. It doesn’t have to be someone that is doing the same kind of creative work you are, but tell someone that is doing creative work about your goals, dreams, fears, tools, or new book. Reach out. Be brave and share. If you can’t think of someone, tell me in the comments–now. I promise I’ll email you back to encourage you.
- Look for a group of locals that is working on creative work. Make it simple: a free library writing group, a poetry reading, a community college course on graphic design. It does not have to be “professional” or expensive to reap rewards, connections, and inspiration.
Start with those steps. Do one at a time. Go slowly. For this month, just commit to one thing. Bite off only what you can chew and enjoy–what you can go deep into. Be patient with yourself, patient with feeling unsure, patient of not knowing what to do next. It will get easier.
You are starting some good work. You will be blessed by trying. You will be a blessing to others. You can do it.
If you’re not sure what your vocation is, you might journey over to Lori Pickert’s blog: she’s doing a series about finding your vocation and creative work–Project Based Homeschooling for Adults. It’s pretty awesome.
And if you aren’t sure whether doing creative work is important enough to ask God’s help for, read Ed Cyzewski’s book, Creating Space. It’s short, lovely, and as I’m writing, less than a dollar. Or, head over to Addie Zierman’s blog, “How to Talk Evangelical” for this gem about Christians and creating.