How to Start

Jul 11, 2018

Accept that there’s no right way to start because a trackless wonderland has no maps and not a single do not trespass sign to speak of.

Gently tug your dutiful mind away from trying to begin at the beginning. Who knows what that is? Begin where there is energy or an image or a line of dialogue.

Forget the big picture. Forget knowing what this is or where it is going. Respond to what is here now.

You become the person who can make the work you wish to make by making it. Thus, it matters not how inadequate you feel to accomplish the task as long as you are engaged in the remedy.

Keep taking the antidote.

Waste no time declaring what you are starting: be more interested in responding to the creative urge.

Hug the part of you who asks after five minutes or an hour, “Is it any good?” Isn’t she adorable!

Record what unveils itself to you with the same exquisite attention as you would the first breaths of a newborn. Bypass the need for logical order or transitions unless these naturally occur. Leave space between ideas.

Remember your inner critical voices are neither unique nor truthful. Literally: your inner narration makes sh*t up that has little or no basis in reality. Let it blather while you keep making.

Know yourself to belong to the chorus of people expressing their voices. The world becomes a vaster place as you work, enlarged through the viewpoint only you can bring. This is not hyperbole, this is truth.

Do not leave your start to perish from lack of attention. Make a date to work again.

Keep what you started private. Avoid gossiping about it.

Why burden what you’ve started with a story of what it must become and by when? Soon it can take more weight and shape. For now, let it be.

When you work again, ask your start, “What do you want to try next?” and then ask the same thing of yourself. Navigate between the two.

Most of all, perhaps, let the love of making sustain you.

Jettison Self-Doubt and Lose the Itty-Bitty-Shitty Committee and Make Your Thing Now

From the national best-selling author of The Woman’s Comfort Book and Why Bother.

Made for writers, artists, mail art makers, knitters of sock puppets, creative entrepreneurs, photographers, Tarot readers, and anybody who needs to make stuff they love.

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