Can we agree that resolutions kind of suck?
They’re so easy to self-sabotage. Getting a gym membership doesn’t mean you’re actually going to use it, which gyms frequently count on. You may have the best intentions ever to write that Great American Novel, but writing?
It’s daunting as fuck. And for everyone who finds motivation in their artist’s journals and their scheduled times or whatever, there are countless others who just can’t make it stick no matter their intentions. Myself included. The Artist’s Way might as well have been a guide to anxiety for me. “Did I…? Oh god no, and then I have to…”
That said, I have taken a photograph almost every day for the past two years but it wasn’t a challenge or a resolution. I just noticed that it was kind of happening after I got my first iPhone, so I kept doing it. They’re not all great artistic works, but they’re pictures. They force me to keep my eye open, even if I have to make the tableau myself with a bunch of Lego. It’s so regular it’s practically a barometer for my mood. Did I take a picture? No? Something’s up and I should mention it to my therapist at the next appointment.
And that’s what works for me.
So yeah, no novels here. No Great Works. And I think we would all do well to not get bogged down in Big Epic Dreams With No Small Steps.
I think we should stop being tired. I think we could maybe stop with the excuses and justifications for why we aren’t doing something. Anything. Stop saying that because the rest of the world is doing the same thing or doing something to a larger audience than you that, really, why bother?
And maybe… do it instead?
Instead of automatically bingeing the next show on Netflix, take five or ten minutes every day to do whatever the hell it is you want to be doing. Take pictures? Write the novel? Learn the dance? Sketch?
Plot, plan, scheme and then do!
Because as tired as we are, as weary or drained as we are from the day’s efforts, I think we owe it to ourselves to do something. Anything. And by breaking it down into manageable chunks, we can build up our tolerances and our endurances and our instincts to a point where we might be able to do these things with pleasure or instinctively or better or longer.
You don’t win a marathon the first time you put on a pair of sneakers. Hell, you don’t run a marathon with your first pair of trainers. I have friends who run marathons, they trained and practiced and watched their diets and so on and so forth. And we hear about that and think yeah, well, that makes sense for running.
But I want to paint! And the museum is already full.
I want to dance! And I’m not going to be cast in Swan Lake.
I want to take a picture of a woman wearing that outfit in that lighting… but someone else took it and I think it sucks but it’s been done so fuck that.
And we’re all… so… tired…
Me too. Take five minutes. Take a picture. Sketch a coffee cup. Write a scene of dialogue between two characters. Then try for ten minutes. Then write a chapter. Try NaNoWriMo! I did that years ago and had a blast.
Take that damned picture and make it yours!
And if you don’t like it after a chunk of time, if you’re not getting That Rush of Creativity, give yourself permission to try some new thing. And also kick your ass to try some new thing.
I just took a picture a day for a while until that picture a day became two years with a couple lapses. And now, with exceptions because I have some shitty fucking days where I can’t pull my head out of my ass or see anything but my own anxiety, I have my eyes open for a picture. Or an idea after seeing a Lego minifig.
Because I showed up enough that the muse is usually there waiting.
2018: Show up, Show up, Show up.