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The Abecedary of Creative Confidence - B is for Begin

Updated: May 12

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?

Notes to self:

Do the work by coming to the page (and by page I mean page, screen, canvas, stage, living room dance floor) every day. Art is a verb, a thing we can do, it is not an outcome.

Come to the page every day 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. And dialgoue isn’t something you’ve ever had a problem with, blabbermouth.

Talent is overrated. Habit and skill are more useful and both can be developed. Tenacity and an openness to everything will do more for becoming who you are than talent. Style emerges from the habit of doing and the practice of showing up to do the work.

And 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 47 year old person who creates, or a 47 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 anyhow.

Begin today.

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