March 12, 2018
I’ve been thinking about creation lately (that’s creation with a small “c” – I don’t think I’m ready to tackle religion on here … yet).
I’m editing the Sarah Smith Euro tour blog for publication, and the process is reminding me how satisfying it is to create things. Back when I was doing the London Groove Machine music blog I used to scroll through the various interviews sometimes, amazed and pleased by how the content was piling up over time. I do it once and a while with this blog too. I love to see a finished product, whether it’s a blog post or a completed book manuscript or a finished song or whatever.
I’m saying this now because I think creation can be a great strategy for dealing with anxiety or feeling stuck. I’ve had periods when I’ve felt kind of lost, and the temptation is to sit there and stew in it. There have been times when it felt like nothing was working - honestly, it still feels that way sometimes - and the reaction has been self-indulgence and defeatism. While those things can feel perversely good for a while, in the end they don't accomplish anything.
There is energy in creation.
There is momentum in completion.
That doesn’t mean you have to take on the world’s biggest project. As I said, simply completing and publishing a blog post like this one can produce a sense of accomplishment. So can baking a cake. So can painting your bedroom. So can writing a poem or planting a garden or knitting a pair of slippers. The key is to simply create something, preferably without judgment and without expectation. If you have some bigger goal in mind and can point those small creative steps in that direction, something amazing might happen.
Jerry Seinfeld used to write jokes every day. Good, bad, or indifferent, he wrote every day. Still does, I imagine. He’s kept his notes from the time he started in the 1970s until now. There’s a scene in his new Netflix special, “Jerry Before Seinfeld,” where he’s sitting in the street with all of his notes spread around him. They cover the whole block. Thousands and thousands of jokes and ideas, gathered one at a time for years and years and years.
That’s how it happens sometimes.
Word by word, sentence by sentence, your book is completed. Chord by chord, line by line, your album is written. Idea by idea, tactic by tactic, your online course is created. Stitch by stitch, thread by thread, your clothing line comes together. Your YouTube channel accrues content. Your photography portfolio blossoms. The pieces for your first art show are imagined and brought to life. You look back over six months or a year or ten years and you’ve got this incredible output that’s yours.
What a feeling!
But it begins with creating something. If you’re angry or agitated or hopeless or even excited, it’s all energy. If you can channel that energy, you can use it to create. As you create things, you gather momentum to create more things. You develop purpose. You develop self-confidence. You begin, possibly, to tap into a passion and see opportunities open up that maybe you hoped for but didn’t expect.
Yes, as ever, I’m writing this for me as much as for you.
So go create something this week. Use that energy. Build that momentum. Feel good about it.
Then create something else.