It's a funny thing, trying to create something. You want to do it, so badly. But....you don't do it.
You know how much you enjoy it when you do create something. But.....you avoid it.
It's a weird thing, like the wrong end of magnets against each other, so close to real connection, yet they push away instead of pull together.
It's a strange thing. And really frustrating. And hard to defeat.
It's just too easy to get too tired and watch tv.
or hang out with friends.
So what is to be done, when we know we long to write, paint, sing, play, or do whatever it is we do to express that spark of the divine that quietly whispers "Come, co-create with me something from the beautiful uniqueness of you".
Here's an interesting take on the situation that I quite like.
The first three steps of the AA 12 Step Program are:
1. Admitted we are powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable
2. Admitted a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
3. Turned our life and will over to God, as we understood him
I find these three steps so beautiful. They are simple, clear and admit the essential problem all of humanity has. Just change "alcohol" to whatever you use to avoid sitting down at your desk, keyboard, canvas or whatever your place of avoidance is..... We are powerless against our laziness, procrastination, The Voice, Pinterest, baking that three course dinner for no one....or any of the serious addictions.
And this is why I believe every creative person needs a support group. Somewhere to go and talk to other people who also struggle with finding time in their schedules, people who struggle with being distracted by fun social events or "great" TV shows that we tell ourselves "teach us about our craft", people who find facebook hard to resist and who also justify it to themselves as "business building".
It's more than just accountability. It's community. It's identification with those who have walked the same path. It's the laughing about shared pitifulness and lack of resolve. It's looking into other tear-filled eyes when the struggle seems to overwhelm us. It's people who look at what you have achieved and who insist on celebrating that, which often stands in such stark contrast to the lack of progress we see in ourselves.
Here's why everyone who seeks to be creative in their lives needs to have a support group: none of us are enough on our own.
We need each other. We need it for encouragement when we doubt our talent. We need each other for support when things are so hard to produce we think we can't go on. We need each other to remind us why we want to produce art.
I'm extremely lucky to be part of a really amazing support group, four songwriters, who meet to check in, to hear about each other's lives, to hear how the creative stuff is developing, to encourage each other, to simply stand as witnesses to the journey we are each on, with creativity and life.
And here's something else I get from my Artist Support Group. Challenges. They want to see me producing art. They want to see me successful. They want to see me create stuff that makes me happy, proud, moving deeper and more fully into my creative self. They want to see me breaking through my creative barriers. Challenges. They set them and they follow up on them. They are not necessarily song writing challenges. All kinds of creativity is involved.
And here's yet another thing: They know me well. More and more well. They see me when I'm over worked. They seem me when I'm thriving. They see me in ways I don't see me. They see my weaknesses. They know when I'm faking, when I'm ignoring things I shouldn't, when I'm pretending to be creative. They know me.
And here's something else I believe. You are creative. You, and everyone else on this planet. You are creative. And you deserve a support group for to help you discover and grow that creativity.
So, for those without support groups, here are my first three steps of the 12, for artists:
1. Admitted that we are creative but we are powerless over the pull away from creativity and our lives are unmanageable when we do not prioritise creativity
2. Admitted that a power greater than ourselves calls us to creativity and can work through us when we make time to be creative. Without that power to help us we cannot resist the power to procrastinate
3. Turned our life and will over to God, as we understood him, to help us prioritise creativity and to help us grow in our creative gifts.
We need each other. We need our higher power. We need to believe in prioritising our creativity. I encourage you to find a few other artists and start a group. Begin your creative journey with a new view. A view that loves you. A view that loves your creativity. And makes you laugh. A lot.