Me: Wasting time wondering what my creative path was rather than figuring it out. Avoiding the Big Questions for months and months. Allowing Resistance to walk all over me like I was just some boring off-white linoleum floor.
Also Me: Inspired by Elin Loow’s Fear Year project. Very inspired. Heart-pumping, mind-galloping inspired. But… not really sure what to do with that inspiration.
I am your basic creative person. The kind that is creative, inspired, and dreams of (rather than chases) that “better” life around the corner. Also the kind of creative that allows their training wheels to get stuck in the mud, believing they are now forever rooted in this muddy, mentally taxing place.
This, unfortunately, seems to be most creatives.
Doodlers instead of artists. Hummers instead of singers. Scribblers instead of writers.
You know that feeling. That creative cusp. The BEFORE pictures of your dreams coming true.
I’m still there, in the mud, socks deep. Sinking. My training wheels are my small-scope stories, my no-risk characters and plots, my easy comfortable life avoiding sharing any of my inner mind through art.
But embarking on this quest has given me a specific tool.
Metaphorically, a wrench. Those training wheels are coming off!
Literally, a mindset shift. I’m not 13 anymore. I’m actually nearly twice that age now. I don’t need my hands held. I don’t need to censor my words.
I don’t need to be afraid of the Big Questions.
The Big Questions
We all have our own Biggies in our minds. The questions that keep us from taking that first step toward an authentic, creative life. Questions that burn within us, wanting to be seen, to be dealt with. Questions we ignore – out of uncertainty, out of discomfort, out of fear.
I had thirteen questions, I found. I sat down and started writing a list of the unknowns. And I’m sure I have more brewing around in my head, but these were the first. The first list of fears I was going to face, sort out, and move on from.
I had so many projects in my head. They needed to a good talking to.
My First Fear List of Big Questions
- Do I even want to start an editing business?
- Am I ready to edit/critique someone else’s work?
- Do I want to publish books?
- Do I want to create vlogs anymore?
- What is my writing brand goal?
- Will I have time in the day to do all of this?
- What do I want to do with the “word art” idea?
- Do I want to finish X series or move on to another story entirely?
- What are my musical goals?
- Am I still interested in making video games?
- What does my creative life look like?
- Is sharing art okay?
- Is creating into a void meaningless?
Some were heavier than others, admittedly. But they were all questions I had to face. Being a jack-of-all-trades kind of mind, I have a lot of creative goals within me. But time and sanity are in short supply while working a day job, maintaining a semi-clean apartment, working out, making daily fresh meals, and being sociable. And sleeping. Sleep takes up so much time…
But the point of these Biggies, the reason they burned to be answered, was to give me a direction.
I’m scatter-brained most of the time. Anxious, creative, scribbling ideas 24/7. I desperately needed direction, a compass to gauge if what I was working on during my creative bursts was moving me closer to my goals.
So, I sat down. And answered every single one.
It didn’t take as long as I imagined answering BIG QUESTIONS would take. Maybe because I already knew the answers, but wasn’t admitting them to myself. Or maybe these Biggies just… weren’t so big. I imagined them as hulking masses obstructing my path forward, but… no. They’re just questions. Waiting for answers.
Ordering the Chaos
And I found it. My path. Finally, some limitations on the vast sea of creativity within me. I needed to lasso those projects back in line to get them trotting in the same direction.
I’d found the Order within my Chaos.
At first, I thought July would be my month to wrestle with the idea of Identity. I’ve had issues with this idea since middle school. (Who am I? Why do I matter? How do I know if this is my true self or my social mask self? Do I need a social mask?)
But it became the month of Ordering the Chaos.
I’m only 9 days into this project as of writing this, but I’ve figured these things out so far. And these were Biggies. It was either face them or go back to the training wheels. The same training wheels still pulling me deeper into the mud.
Let the Training Wheels Go
Today, I think I’ve finally let those tiny wheels sink without me. Even during a headache-y weekend, I managed to stick to the Order I’d found. It’s that important. A “through sickness and health” kind of promise to yourself. A light in the distance. A sign pointing you forward. A definite, visceral end goal glowing in your mind.
You need to know which direction you’re going before you can start the journey. Even if you’re a master at “winging it” you still need to know where you’re going to end up. If you’re a creative, what are you creating? Why are you creating it?
Answer your Big Questions to avoid those days (months, years) of anxious turmoil.
Face those fears.
Perhaps you’ll see those Biggies just aren’t as big as they seem trapped in your head.
That’s why I’m working on this project, my Fear Year. Confront the fears, the questions, the doubts… And come out creating on the other side.
This is just the first step to playing my creativity game and finding my creative life.
What Fears are keeping you from finding your goal? When are your training wheels going to come off for good?