“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
~ Steven Pressfield (The War of Art, 2002)
If you’ve ever had an ounce of desire to create something ~ to write, paint, build, teach, sauté, start a business or any myriad of creative pursuits that lie somewhere deep within us, then this article is for you.
This is about the creative process and what we need to understand about it so we don't give up before the magic takes place.
Hands up if you’ve ever started something with great abandon, given it everything you thought you had and then after a pretty short period of time, gave up. Or perhaps it wasn’t such a short time. Maybe you gave it a go for months or even years and then let it go… just before all came together.
Just so you know, I’ve dabbled for years in this and that and have chased more than a few brilliant (at the time) shiny ideas that belly-flopped into my head at 3am. And although I’d love to say I’m writing this from “the other side,” I am still having breakthroughs. For the first time since pursuing my writing seriously, I’m now starting to make headway. I’ve found my flow, my momentum and understand some of the basics that I just couldn't face until now.
The key is to start
Obvious? Yep, I know. But I also know that if you’re reading this you can relate to the wish that the more time you spend daydreaming about stuff, the more probable it will... just somehow happen. Yes by osmosis! Or that the Universe might decide to take pity on me and will deliver one of my sparkly ideas, complete and tied up prettily in a bow at my door. Ha!
The Universe helps those bold enough to start, stay consistent and not give up. Motivation is not something that comes while we’re sitting around waiting for it. It’s in the doing that motivation comes and grows. Motivation grows in the momentum of doing something and inspiration follows. This means it takes the true scheduled time doing “something” on a consistent basis to ever become successful at anything.
You cannot force it
The truth of the creative process is that it cannot be forced. Even mildly good work takes time. It often feels like it's on its own schedule and will only come together when it's good and ready. But, when we consistently show up, do the very best we can, slog it out and DO the work, it does come.
TRUST and stick with it
No matter how much it feels like you’re slogging it out and getting nowhere, stay open, receptive and TRUST that this is part of the creative process. It’s when you learn to enjoy the uncomfortable-ness of the slog and stick with it that your muse takes note of your dedication and allows your project to be blessed by her magic.
Whatever you do, do NOT buy into what your evil twin's theory - that if you were really good at whatever you do, it would all just flow. That it should be all easy-peasy, effortless and fast. For us mere mortals it doesn’t just ooze out of our pores. But isn’t that half the fun of the creative process? If it’s worth something to you, you will bleed, struggle and sweat for it.
Our biggest regrets come when we quit on ourselves, or our projects, midway because the slog gets too uncomfortable. But the longer we stick with something the more we refine our art and pick up more skill. It’s in the duration of doing something that mastery becomes possible.
When we focus on the feeling of growth, instead of the hard details we feel a magical connection to what we’re working on.
And when we keep showing up with an open heart and have faith that what we do has a divine reason, we also have the power to impact others. So to anyone in the midst of throwing themselves around their room, banging their heads against the wall or wanting to Frisbee their “work” off the tallest skyscraper, embrace the slog and keep going. Honor the struggle. Keep showing up because you never know the ripple effect and legacy you or your work could have on the world.
Thank you Marie Forleo and Steven Pressfield for all the inspiration you have both given me about not giving up and sticking with the creative process.
Emma Bathie is a Soul Happiness Coach. Learn more about her work and how to create more of life's magic HERE.