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Begin (again)

Today I am beginning - again. My song of the summer has been Jessie Ware's fabulous disco anthem 'Begin Again', so today I sit down at the desk to write. I'm a passionate believer in the power of creative practice but often forget - or ignore - the lessons I've learned over the past ten years. I've long been drawn to sharing my insights - I've started this blog at least three times! - but I've always let the inner critic get in my way. I'm bored of her though and ready for new adventures, so once again I've asked her to leave the room so I can get on with things. Smell ya later, dummy!


So here we are, beginning again, as a way to talk to you, dear reader, to remind myself (creative life is HARD!), and to clarify my thoughts.


I spent so long (as in …years, literally years, I was 39 years old when I finally started a regular creative practice) NOT beginning. Whining that I wanted to do something ‘really good’ with my life, but never taking any action. I think I believed that I was a good person and something ‘really good’ should just happen, or happen to me. Now, after years of bloody hard work (and it IS hard work, but the most rewarding work there is - the work of shaping your own self) I look back at my younger self with gentle amusement (or slack-jawed disbelief, but I’m trying to be kind). 


These are some of the stories I told myself to avoid beginning…


I don’t know what to do.

What if I don’t have anything to say?

What if I don’t have any talent?

What if I don’t have a style?

I’ve started too late - I’m too old.

I’m scared that I’ll be rubbish.

Why bother anyway?


I'm bothering because I have to. There is music in me which wants to get out.

Begin.


Come to the page (screen, canvas, dance floor) and you will find something to say, something buried deep or scattered throughout your being. The work feeds itself - it’s a dialogue between you and the world and the work. You say something, the work will say something back, you respond.

Begin.


Habit and skill are more useful than talent, and both can be developed. Tenacity and an openness to everything will do more for becoming who you are than talent. Come to the page every day and form the habit.

Begin.


Style emerges from the habit and practice of doing. Art is a verb.

Begin.


And you think you're too old? One of my very favourite quotes from my bible (Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) - paraphrased here... 

Q “Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I’m any good at this?” 

A “Yes. Exactly the same age you’ll be if you don’t do it.”

Soooo. I can either be a 49 year old person who creates, or a 49 year old person who doesn’t. The time will pass regardless, and the choice is mine.


And finally - yes, you will be rubbish at first. Let yourself be.

Begin. 


Begin today.

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