Begin It Now

by | Nov 8, 2022 | Creativity, Inspiration, Writing | 0 comments

Avoiding the Work

I have been sitting and thinking about writing a book for two years, planning it in my head, circling the wildebeest that live in my mind, watching for an opening and waiting for the time to strike. In those two years, the herd has not thought to part company with even a single weakling. There has been nothing to strike. Nothing for me to pounce upon. I have been observing my placid tribe of ideas and dreams happily chop the grass whilst I either pretend to write, avoid writing or delay my work with journals and morning pages.

In one sense, many of us find ourselves in this situation when faced with a creative idea. We have a burst of inspiration, a hurricane of planning, brainstorms, spider-grams and notes and then nothing. Our fabulous idea gets shelved for a day or so as we rest upon the laurels of our initial brilliance. The day turns into a week and the week into a month. The next thing we know, a year has passed and the idea has sat, gathering dust on the shelf. We might muster another idea and explode with excitement and frenzy until the same pattern takes hold again. I tell myself I am an ideas man but I know I am capable of more. If you recognise this treadmill, then this message might be for you.

walking on the beach begin it now step one

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

William Hutchison Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Daring to Jump

There is a marked difference between skirting around an idea and committing to it. I liken it to a swimming pool. We can walk around the pool, dipping our foot in, testing the temperature, checking the depth, watching others splash and have fun, but until we actually leap in ourselves, we can never know how exhilarating it will feel immersed in the water. We won’t be able to feel the relief from a hot summer’s day as we swelter by the side, wondering if it is worth it to jump in. Something holds us back; something delays us and stops us from leaping. That something could be a voice, a pattern or a force that in most cases stems from our subconscious and our ego. The fear of being judged. The fear of failure. The fear of drowning. Perhaps the water will be too cold and we won’t enjoy it. Yet how can we learn to swim and get better at it if we never enter the water?

I have some pernicious habits that deviate me from my tasks. I have to laugh at them because I am very effective in blocking myself from action. I can busy myself with organising things, checking the internet for materials I might need for the task, making sure I know all the up-to-date equipment I can’t afford that would enhance my creation, checking online videos for the latest developments in literature, stories and other people’s art, and of course, writing about writing. I love to write about how I am going to start writing soon. I love to write about what is blocking me writing. I do not seem to have a block for that kind of writing. Maybe you recognise this one? It comes in many forms. I know there isn’t a block. There is just a final hurdle to leap over… one that isn’t as scary as I have made it out to be.

Begin It Now

Over the last few years, I have been circling one book idea. I won’t go into it because this month I have started in upon it. I have made the first steps toward hunting out the alpha-leaders in this flock of ideas that has been resting in my heart. The migration has started. It is time to hunt. November happens to be the month of Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month. It is an event that challenges writers to show up every day for 30 days and write at least 1600 words. By the end of the month that should be about 50,000 words and the first draft of something brand new.

I have been presented with some much-needed free time. I have a space in which to write and have started teaching my Soul Writing class again. In addition to all of this, I am going through some big life changes. I moved country a bunch of times, and have been faced with challenges that can only be resolved by me following my heart. One aspect of this means getting creative, writing the books that have been building up within me and earning money from something that brings me joy. I find myself inspired and have risen to the challenge. I haven’t written nor released a book since Note to Self: Writing to Reveal the Soul and it is high time I got cracking.

I know I have your attention by now. I know I have plucked some of your heart strings at this point. We all have things we dream of doing, that we wish we could do, if only there were space and time. And yet, the space and time we do have, we reduce by distracting ourselves because of fear or our inner-critic trying to protect us from ourselves.

The Challenge

Whilst I am not suggesting we drop it all and leave the kids to fend for themselves, I am suggesting that we carve five to ten minutes into our schedule for ourselves. I am suggesting that we dedicate one or two days a month to taking a class that inspires us forwards. I am also suggesting that we love ourselves enough to create a sacred space in our home in which to work on that idea we have had on slow burn for the last few years.

What would it take to commit to beginning? A small desk space in a quite corner of the house? Time away from the journal and morning pages to write a quick poem? Getting the guitar out of its case, ready for action? A deep, slow, breath inward that intends we stop our self-criticism and doubt and leap into the pool, regardless of whether we dive gracefully, belly flop or go feet first?

If we could get beyond the fear of failure, just for a second, so that we can bathe for a moment in our idea, then we at least know that we have tried. If we can replace five minutes of internet scrolling with inspired action then we are moving forwards. It doesn’t matter how slow we go but I know, from experience, that it does matter that we move. We owe it to our spirit, to the eternal creator within us. We do not need to swim an ocean either, hunt an entire flock or write a masterpiece in a day. We only need to begin.

And this is me daring you…

If this article speaks directly to your soul and you are wondering how to move forwards, I invite you to come to my next Soul Writing class and begin to discover your creative voice. Soul Writing helps release and free the inner voice and creative spirit that lives within all of us. At the same time, it is a healing tool that can help us process old trauma and current issues. We are able to explore our shadows and our depths, offering new horizons from which to look at life. Soul Writing is for everyone.