Power Comes From Deciding
I used to think the power or potential to do something was tied to the funds and the time to do it. I wrote the draft for this blog in 2018. It came from a comment I made one day about how much I enjoy writing. “Writing is what I like to do,” I proclaimed confidently to my spouse.
“And you have the power to do it.”
I thought about that for a moment. True, I had the tools, namely a MacBook. I’ve had my manuscript edited. Since our discussion, my time to write has increased dramatically.
Yes, indeed, I typed, liking doing something and being able to do it are two different things. I am privileged to indulge in what I enjoy. I have the time and the means and the motivation.
I’ve rethought that since. I was listening to a talk on manifesting and taking action (manifesting isn’t just repeating an affirmation and waiting passively for something to happen) and the speaker remarked the money and time were the two biggest excuses to deciding. The most important factor was making the decision to do it.
My Humble Beginnings
So I thought some more. I started writing a long time ago, over twenty years, on a PC. We had only one computer in the house back then. I went up to the office when I had a moment. I took notes in a little notebook I carried everywhere. I’m laughing as I write this. It seems like a thousand years ago!
When I got an iPhone, I typed away on the daily commute to and from work. People, that’s a darn small screen! I had a laptop by then, but it ran on Windows. I transferred my progress daily, converting and emailing myself to get around the difference in systems.
My laptop burnt out. Testament to my slowness, and working a lot of hours at my job. I bought another brand. It was horrible. We were at Windows 10 by then. But it couldn’t support it so it would go on the fritz randomly and I’d lose whatever I’d written since the last save.
When you write you get into a flow where things are working and your characters are witty, or compelling, or speaking a great life truth. I was trying to go with this while compulsively saving my work every sixty seconds. And you can’t just write it again, because it’s gone with the flow. That’s the principle of the flow. Like a toilet, it goes away and is never seen again. OK, not the best analogy. And yes, you can usually recall what you wrote, but it takes time. But by then you’re ruined for the rest of what you had going.
Finally, I upgraded to the MacBook. I learned to dictate on my phone. That text shows up seamlessly on the laptop. But if I’d waited until I had the means or the time, I’d have given up at the first difficulty, I’d be nowhere.
Money and Time
So waiting to have enough money and enough time will leave you, well, waiting. There’s never enough time. We all have other demands and obligations. There’s never enough money. If you paint you always need more supplies, your laptop can always be upgraded. You could always take more lessons. The list goes on.
But the important thing is to start. To break ground by taking those first steps. It convinces you that you’re on your way. That you are the artist, the musician, the writer.
Second, you start forming a habit. An hour a week, maybe two. If you are disciplined enough you’ll repeat it regularly, and with regularity comes habit.
Pride and Passion
Where I lived before, there was a yearly ‘Arts Circuit’ organized by the city (pre-Covid, obviously). You could walk or drive around, and meet artists (painters) in their workshops, or homes. One lady had a small set up in her guest room. A table and chair. She worked on small canvases, with small brushes and craft paint, the kind that comes in small bottles and you can find at Walmart. She painted country scenes, fields, farmland and such. But there was so much attention to detail, so much passion and pride. It came through in her work. She didn’t need expensive paint or her own studio. A lot of time one into each work, it wasn’t a fast process. But she had made the decision to do.
Decide to Take the First Step
It’s the first step that’s hardest. It’s going from nothing to something. Mustering that initial energy required to go from rest to movement. Whatever you aspire to do, just start. Low budget, no budget, squeezing in whatever time you can, simply begin.
I hang out online with other authors, book bloggers, booklovers. Most write their novels or blogs in their (rare) free time. Most have a full-time job. They have family obligations. Editing and proofreading and covers are expensive. So are running ads. But they stick with it for the love of what they do. Because they decided. And they keep me going. Shout out to them.
So go forth and begin, however you can or must. Buy canvas at the dollar store, pick up a second-hand guitar. No one has to know. It’s your thing. Because that’s what it comes down to: making the decision. And that’s all yours.
Apologies for the late blog. It did not go up as scheduled. Twice! I’m blaming the mercury retrograde.