It can be frightening to start. There is an infinite number of possibilities at hand, and with each keystroke whole branches of options to eliminate: never to be. The brain searches and emotions whirl about, casting doubts to the forefront and seeking to abate the flow. With each step we challenge the fears and worries. They are still there, but we are building momentum and forward motion. Breath quickens and strokes surge and cease, flourish and founder.
It is both easy and difficult, this task of creating. This action of making known what was moments before formless and dashing about in the aether.
Some say to consider the audience and to write for them. That seems like a good idea in many ways, until you face it and freeze. Who is this audience? You can narrow it down but a list of them will always be incomplete and rather unknown. What if instead of writing for the audience, you write for yourself? What if you set free your inhibitions, dance on the breeze, and let the muse take you where it/she/he may?
Then let the audience that is interested find you.
I’m reminded of a George Lucas quote. He states that with Star Wars he set out to make the movie that he wanted to see and that he was fortunate that many other people wanted to see it too.
Can this be part of the world we now inhabit? With the far flinging reaches of the internet and digital media? Through sharing, crowd-funding, micro-financing, patronage, and straight up sales?
I think it is possible. I see it around the periphery. I see examples, but their work is incredible. I don’t like looking at my own. When I look at what others have done I am humbled and amazed. The creativity, the gumption, the unfolding processes, are all actions of intention bridging the formless to what becomes.
But for myself? Nope. It’s not good enough. What is this dross? Toss it aside. Go play it safe and easy. Don’t write, don’t share. Don’t study and take little practical steps to realize your goal. Stay down. It’ll be safe if you just stay down. Hide.
Is this what we want though? Life staying down? Life on our bellies?
Is that life or is it the illusion of life? Is it taking the risks or is it a mere paying homage to an idea of risk that may seem intimidating to others, but not so to ourselves. Something risky once, but now more safe, and a new hiding place. Hedging our bets do we play it safe, or pushing all our chips forward do we let it ride?
How do we get better? In the doing. In the learning. In time invested and experience gained.
If we want to be better at something, we can. And maybe it isn’t quick, and maybe it isn’t good right away (it seldom is). But it is forward progress, and forward progress takes us along the path. And along the path we go and grow until we find ourselves at the mountain.
This invitation is always before us: to try, to create, to dream, to walk the long steps forward a bit at a time. To walk out the transition from what may into what is.
We can be awkward at it. We can write and then delete it all. We can attempt to cajole or threaten ourselves, but it comes down to the simple act of doing it. Drawing near to the precipice of possibility and choosing to do it. We are like young animals learning their method of travel. Awkward we take flights of fancy as we set out to accomplish what our hearts desire but our skills can’t yet quite transform. Growing pains en route to a mastery of air and sea.
We’ll get better. That’s the way of it.
I return again and again to this theme because it is oft-present in my life. Having a dream, feeling afraid, and taking a step. Not all the time. But some of the time. Most of the time. Enough of the time to have me move forward. There is the fear that this doesn’t make sense, and that in the end I will seem a sad joke. I’ve heard it from others. But I see the glimmer of what can be, and I can’t do something other. I don’t fit into those normal boxes well at all.
Looked at close, as we often do, we see our daily successes and failures. We think about what could have been if we focused in full, committed with our all. We miss noticing that as those little steps happen, the bulk of the flow of time will see big work done.
Yes, there are many days that I could have done more. Many days I allow the fear to win via procrastination, low productivity, and working on the little things while pushing back the big important things. But I can also look back and see the accomplishments.
I had my vision, my idea, and I stepped out and crossed Canada twice in seven months. I spent the next year and half travelling about and working on getting that book together which is finally released. I have redesigned my website. I have created my patreon page. I have accomplished the first two big goals I foresaw before I started that initial journey, and I once again look forward at the next idea, the next level, and it intimidates, it frightens, and it compels me onward.
So how can I do any less than try though the stakes get greater, the leaps further.
This is life. And I try to dance it as best I can, one step at a time, in the hopes that it ‘works’.
I don’t know whether it will ‘work’ or not, but I can know that I tried the best I could, sought wise counsel and better ways. I keep pressing forward, one step at a time.