Expressing myself creatively was always in my blood. When I was just 5, a church vocal group asked the audience for song requests and I requested a children’s song. They laughed and asked me if I could come up and sing it. They probably thought I might be too shy, but I got up there and belted it out and was singing in church regularly after that. At that age I had no concept of fear. I just knew that I liked the song and liked to sing.
Interestingly enough, I have become much more shy with age. I think when adulthood sets in we lose that pure sense of being. With all the responsibilities clouding our vision – our job, our bills, the day-to-day minutiae, the roles we think we are supposed to play, we lose our innocence and become much more self-critical. Any new venture can easily get crushed if, when we set out to do it, there is background noise about all the other things we should be doing or how incapable we are of the new venture. Worse than that, we lose the joy of the moment. When I look back on art that I have created – be it a song, a painting, or a poem – I see one defining factor on whether or not it turned out to be good: a sense of joy. There is definitely a dialogue that goes on between the creative mind and the more practical mind, but it must be a joyful dance between craft and play. The second I have doubted my ability to complete a project well or tried too hard to make it “good enough”, it has often ended up unfinished or less than satisfactory to me.
So, my advice for starting an artwork, business, or any new venture is to be a child. Let yourself play for a while. Be a daydreamer. I remember reading somewhere that many athletes visualize as viscerally as possible their most positive outcome. Let yourself believe that it can happen. Visualize the finished product, feel what its like to create it, smell it, live with it in your mind – and while you create it and trust your own inner compass and sense of that moment to make it real. One more thing. Even without your critic invading that creative space, there might be others who have lots of should’s and should not’s to give you. This has also crushed many a song or poem for me. I have to listen and consider it, but often after I am through really letting myself dream about my project. Then I can decide if their advice rings true to me.
So, in short, remember to send your critic on vacation and let yourself be a child. Also, don’t forget that this is your new venture, or project, or work of art. The details and the outcome are ultimately up to you.