Monday, March 29, 2010

Beginning- why does it sometimes feel like the hardest thing to do?

During my last course my students and I talked about the feelings that arose in the very beginning of the course. We also talked in general about the feelings that arise when one is about to embark on something new and especially on something creative and heartfelt. The discussion was really interesting and so I thought you may find it useful if I share a few of the thoughts that arose from the discussion.

To be quite honest, whenever I begin something new I almost always feel some degree of fear. Fear of failure, fear of making mistakes, fear of humiliation, fear of rejection, fear of being discovered for not being capable or not being very good.

What I understand is fear at its worst can paralyze and is capable of stopping us from taking those first steps toward creating something (possibly something quite beautiful). It is crazy really, all those things so many of us don't begin and hence don't experience, express and create, all due to fear- fear that I suspect is usually unfounded.

When I began drawing to entertain my baby daughter I had no fear, she was so little I knew she wasn't going to laugh at me. I wasn't afraid she would think my drawings were no good, I wasn't afraid of making mistakes. Without realizing it I gave myself permission to draw and experiment with my drawings simply for the joy of it. And then, much to my surprise, I discovered it wasn't only my daughter who liked my drawings, but I really liked my drawings too and I didn't care about what anyone else thought. What freedom!

I felt much more fear when it was time for me to share with the adult world my first book on the internet. But I did, and no one laughed or humiliated me. In fact, people just told me I had inspired them to create a book too.

Many of my students have told me that they too feel fear when they start my course. To create something original such as an illustrated book means sharing something of ourselves and this can leave us feeling vulnerable and scared. The beginning is usually the scariest part (by the way my students are amongst the most courageous women I have come across!). But my students tell me that once they actually start creating, the fear subsides and the joy of expressing themselves creatively takes over.

So, with this in mind I encourage you to simply begin your book. Write down a sentence, an idea, sketch a stick figure, play with some cheap watercolor paints. Simply begin and play! The rest just gets easier (and if you never begin you will never know).


  1. This is a great post, and learning how to quiet those negative voices takes a lot of courage. You're right, the beginning is the hardest part. It gets much easier as you go along!

  2. lovely post! :) It is true - doing creative things for toddlers, like singing, drawing, dancing, etc are so much easier because they are not judging you at all. It is so refreshing!