How to Really Commit to Your Creative Work
“The problem, though, is that not committing to a goal is as exhausting as committing to a goal.”
— Penelope Trunk
I’ve been thinking about deep, creative work lately. What does it take to create — and not just make things, but to consistently create a large volume of work?
More than anything, it takes commitment.
I love writing, but I don’t feel like writing today. I usually have something to say, but I just can’t think of anything right now. My mind isn’t full of creativity and ideas. Right now, I am writing to stay true to my commitment to writing.
Penelope Trunk says that leaving your options open is a mistake.
She writes about how important it is to just do the work, instead of being worried about how you’ll feel. She’s afraid everything she writes will be terrible. I think everything I write is terrible. She still writes. And so do I.
“So I tell myself I have to write. I don’t have a choice. I don’t get rid of the feeling of fear that everything I write will be terrible. I accept that feeling and manage what my choices are for responding to it. I’m a good writer because I have successfully convinced myself that there is not an option to be too scared to write. I can just write scared.”
It’s the same thing that Brooke Castillo — who I’m convinced is my spirit guide — talks about. If you’re willing to feel any emotion, you can do anything. It’s our avoidance of feeling our emotions that stop us from doing the things we know we need to be doing.
People are afraid of failure not because it will threaten their lives, but because of the way it will make them feel. The wasted time and energy. The humiliation. The pain of not succeeding. Most people do not want to experience these emotions, so they choose to not even try. As Brooke says, think about the thing you are most afraid of. You’re afraid of it because of how it will make you feel.
When you simply bunker down and stop thinking about all the options out there — especially the option that you are too scared to do anything (and yes, that’s an option) — you can actually get work done and create the results that you want in your life.
So that is why I write. Even when I don’t feel like it.
The only way to be anything is to do it.
So often, people don’t make progress because they’re scared. They’re hesitant. They’re experiencing self-doubt. These emotions keep us from being committed.
If you’re not committed, you don’t have to feel self-doubt. If you’re not invested, you have the opportunity to walk away at any moment that you feel insecure, unsure or scared.
The ironic thing about it, though, is that if you’re not committed to your creativity, you’re committed to your hiding.
You are committing to something either way. It might as well be something worthwhile.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life is that you can feel this way and still move forward. Self-doubt and fear does not translate into stop. These emotions are part of the deal. And they’re completely worth it.
They come from your old, primal brain trying to protect you. Back then, anxiety and fear were tools that helped us survive. Now, in the modern age when survival is easy and personal development is hard, we’re confusing our emotions with our primal brain trying to ensure our survival.
It is time for another evolution. An evolution of the mind, body and soul. A spiritual revolution is happening. As Abraham Maslow says,
“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”
Every. Single. Moment. We have a choice. We can either choose to move forward or choose to fall back into our comfort.
Be committed to growth. Tell yourself enough times to the point where you are subconsciously brainwashed, to the point where you have limited yourself to only ONE option: continuous, personal growth. There is no other option. Your creative work has a place in this world. You have no choice but to move forward. And guess what? All that progress creates happiness. When you give up on trying to be comfortable and happy, something weird happens: you get closer to it.