The ideas are waiting to get out. They are second graders raising their hands saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” in the classroom that is your brain. They want to go to recess, which means we need to give them a place to play.
Sometimes life steals away the moments we could be creative. Sometimes family and taking care of ourselves has to take precedence above letting that idea climb the monkey bars. Sometimes we don’t want to face the same trash-talking, bullying fear that plagues us every time we sit down to create.
We don’t want to confront the nagging voice that says, “This is about to suck. No one’s gonna like it. It won’t be good enough, cool enough, or popular enough.” Making the space to create not only forces us to face this voice, it also forces us to overcome it.
Before my husband and I went house hunting we admitted something to ourselves that two years of both of us working as full-time artists had taught us: we love each other but we need separate work spaces. My husband needs records, noise, beats, cartoons, equipment, instruments, and comedy to create. I need jazz, books, lots of books, pictures of words on the walls, magazines, and more books. We found a place that offered us both the room we needed to be creative.
For the first time in my adult writer life, I have an office – with a door and bookshelves. The first time I shut the door, pulled up the window shades, and tapped away at my laptop, I took a few minutes to savor the moment, to remember all the coffee shops, dining room tables, and bedroom nightstands that had also played the role of office and creative space for me.
Maybe you have an office. Maybe you have a closet or corner that pretends to be an office. Maybe all you have is a writing utensil and a pair of headphones. I’m learning the most important part is not where you create, but that you do the creating.
Staring at a blank canvas, blinking cursor or empty page can be difficult, especially when you’re creating something that doesn’t have a ready template or proven success rate. But making something new reminds me of what made me love writing and performing in the first place.
Accept that you may not know what you’re doing and that’s ok. The purpose of creating something new isn’t so you can feel like an expert, it’s so you can remember what it feels like not to be one, and let the process teach you all you need to know.
Don’t let procrastination or perfectionism keep you from creating. Let your ideas take a spin on the merry-go-round, push them on the swing. All they want is a place to play.