This is a Talking Typewriter Production – Which means this video has also been turned into text. So…you can read this video below or you may watch the video itself, above. It’s the same stuff. It’s your choice.
Hi this is Gary Goodwin founder of The Stuck Creative and welcome. Today we’re going to look at getting started on the creative journey. I wish I could report that getting started, starting on a project or even on an entire creative life is easy, that it involves one inspired leap into creativity.
The Road is Tough
But actually it is tough going. Going from desire to be creative, having an idea to actually completing a project is a very long, long journey. Most of us have not been on this journey before so we don’t know what to pack or how to prepare. We don’t know where to go, we don’t even know what’s on the path, what’s on the map. We don’t know how to relate where we have been to where we’re going. Basically we are lost before we even start.
Creatives Must Get Unstuck
As creatives we must travel. We must find a way to get going and to stay free. Being stuck is not good for creatives. Being stuck is demoralizing and it can easily convince us that we don’t have what it takes, that the trip is not worth it and perhaps we shouldn’t even try to travel. Our initial stuckness and our struggles with it only drive us into more stuckness. Now I’m going to suggest today that we can learn how to break free of this trap by consulting with old adventure movies. Action heroes in the 1940s well into the 1960s had to face a common trap, much like our own troubles around getting started.
Quicksand, a simple combination of sand and water was the monster out to get the brave and the just during this multi-decade period. Invisible and binding, the hero couldn’t see it until the earth gave out beneath his feet, then he was trapped. It was too late. Will our hero make it out? Our trap is not made of sand and water but it’s the traps in our daily mindset. What was solid earth and got us from where we wanted to go in almost everything we do throughout the day, if we persist with that it’s going to give out from under us and put us into stuck mess.
Our usual mindset will remain our trap if we don’t create a new one. It won’t be easy because we have to drop a lot of what we know and do. That which we know so well that has done so much for us, we need to change how we hold those skills. We need to put them on the shelf for a while. We must do things differently. Of course we must have a different mindset. Now for the things we need to drop to get to the new mindset.
Drop Driving Forward Movement
First we have to drop of a lot of our desire to struggle our way out of quicksand. Using driving forward movement to change things will only exhaust us when we’re stuck. We also need to give up that desire, that hope that we can shortcut or trick or [console 00:05:00] or persuade or hack or assume our smarts will get us out of this stuckness.
Drop Thinking We Don’t Have to do the Work
That stuff doesn’t work when simple work reality is concerned. Everyone has to travel the same basic path and we’ve got to do the work, not shortchange the work, not ignore the work, not deny the work, not do the work halfway. We must do the work. For instance to build muscular strength we must do things like lifting weights. Everyone has to work muscles to get stronger muscles. Everyone actually has to do the work to get stronger. Pedigree isn’t important here. No one is going to be able to skip over the fundamental work. That’s a reality. That’s a work reality.
Drop Looking for Short-Cuts
Again the desire to shortchange that or find a way around it is a waste of time and it actually will serve to keep us weak rather than make us stronger. Likewise counting on anything but our own hard work is crazy. Luck can help and can appear but that’s only a short term fix. We have to build our own strength to travel the long road between wanting to be creative and being a productive creative. Also most of us have spent too much time putting off work so we can’t afford any more time waiting around for luck or someone to rescue us or something to pop up. The sooner we start on our own path, building our own strength, the closer at last we’ll be to our creative lives and maybe actually getting a project started and done.
Drop Old Understanding of Time
Regarding time, time is different in this new mindset. We need to drop our certainty for how long things should take. Time is different where braking out of quicksand. Everything will be much much slower, many times slower than we can stand but we must learn how to be patient and steadily work because there’s no other choice. You must to the work since the work will not bend to us.
Drop Making Comparisons
Oh yes, there’s that whole thing about comparisons. We frequently are making comparisons where we’re at or who we are, making comparisons with all sorts of other people. We see them racing ahead of us free of any impediment, sometimes skipping merrily down that creative road. Let the other people be where they’re at and let yourself be where you’re at. Bring attention back to what needs to be done for you to get out. Those people you see skipping down the road came through the same place, they too had to get through the quicksand around starting. Getting out of quicksand doesn’t take much information gathering, a little bit but not much. You’re going to get what you need here.
Drop Gathering More Information
Drop the urge to gather more information and turn what you will learn here into slow, steady action. That’s the key, slow, steady action with the little bit of knowledge that you need to get out of quicksand.
We just went through the things that need to be dropped to bring about a change of mindset to get us out of the quicksand of starting. Now we’re going to turn to things we need to pick up or to pack to make our mindset closer to what we need to get us down that creative road. It’s not just picking up but it’s actually embracing. At first we may embrace something we don’t fully understand or fully appreciate but over time if we look carefully and if we use it on a steady basis we will be able to embrace that and bring it closer to ourselves so that it can fully change our mindset.
We need to embrace crawling, meaning that small, very small movement is what will propel us forward, and that crawling takes time. Actual quicksand is fluid enough to allow pockets of water, [inaudible 00:09:07] sand to form if we move our limbs and body slowly, very slowly. With each pocket that we develop from that slow movement the sand loosens its grip on us and we’re able to move just a little bit more.
Once we get into this slow steady movement we will now be able to handle setbacks because there will be setbacks. There are setbacks for us and there are setbacks for everybody else. We will know that movement forward sometimes means moving sideways or backwards or simply waiting for a while until things are [inaudible 00:09:54] Then we can move forward again. The sooner we can embrace that non linear movement is a fact of life, the sooner we can save the energy we formerly used to struggle against this reality.
Slow and steady will only come from being excellent at patience and at persistence. Persistent focus and just the right amount of force is what we need, persistently. If we’ve done all the dropping and embracing just discussed, at some point our skill at spotting subtle openings or clues and help will develop. We will spot openings for movement, indications where we can move next. We will see clues that will us to understand our work better and we’ll see help that will appear from all sorts of sources.
Embrace Getting Dirty
About getting dirty, I’m not so much focused on how dirty we’ll get crawling out of quicksand, but using getting dirty as an analogy for being humble, doing whatever dirty work presents itself between where we are and where we want to go with our creative projects. No task are too small or to low for us to do, these are the things we need to do at this time. Our ego needs of being thought beautiful or smart or cool or always in control, get put on hold as we work our way out of our own quicksand.
Embrace Becoming a Different Person
We all have to change, that’s just the fundamental nature of this struggle out of stuckness.
How to Make This Work
– Remember what you have to drop and to embrace
Make your own list of the above things that need to be dropped followed by making a list of what you need to embrace. Every day for weeks and probably months, review this list to keep mindful of what needs to be done.
– Challenge yourself to take small steps in dropping and embracing what is on the list and look for successes. Success can lead to other successes.
-Be Patient But Be Persistent