On being creative

What is missing? ... The work is quite feasible, and is the only thing in our power. ... Let go of the past. We must only begin. - Epictetus (taken from The Daily Stoic)

How many times have we heard the same sentiment expressed in different ways:

"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great" - Zig Ziglar

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - Lao Tzu

"The beginning is the most important part of the work" - Plato

We may have the grandest of ideas but they are all but worthless if we never put them into action.

Pressure

We get hung up on the idea of being creative. We convince ourselves that being creative means that we must produce amazing art or poetry or literature. We put ourselves under undue pressure by only focusing on the result and cannot see how we can achieve it.

Creative is simply defined as:

relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something

Imagination - check, ideas - of course, create - obviously. But look at that last word: something.

It doesn't say that being creative means we have to produce a masterpiece, it just says we have to create.

Something. Anything.

The artist starts with a rough sketch. The poet begins with a thought, feeling or emotion. The author first conceives a character, event or outcome.

Even masterpieces have very humble beginnings, but they must all start somewhere.

It is the very act of creation that is important, the willingness to start even if there is no end in sight. Nine times out of ten this may be a false start - second bang, the gun goes off again and we are pulled back to the beginning.

Fortunately for us we will not be disqualified and can have as many false starts as we need, as many as it takes to get it right and get over the finish line.

We just have to start.

Write365 - 6th August 2014 (updated)