Sometimes keeping it moving one step forward at a time is all we can do as creators. Or sideways, backward or whatever direction keeps the motion motioning.
Like when I’m on my bike, near an intersection and trying to sustain even the tiniest movement while waiting on vehicles to take their rights of way. The momentum, small as it might be, beats having to remount and rebalance on the bike, and start from energy zero.
When I feel the least momentum, the least motivation, as a creator — e.g. writer, visual artist, podcaster, photographer — often is when I feel the weight of vulnerability the most. I feel raw and exposed anytime I feel compelled to share my work. But I feel most vulnerable after I share publicly, because it often feels like I’m flinging myself into a void in outer space. Cold and silent, courage met with indifference.
At that point, I’m susceptible to swirling with doubts and feeling once again, seemingly for the thousandth time, like withdrawing and huddling in a corner, like taking my creativity and going home. But eventually, I come back around to the same bit of wisdom: keep going.
I don’t know why I create, or why I do it across several mediums. I don’t know why I feel compelled to share what I create, other than wanting to contribute goodness and light, and to foster connections in the world. There are a lot of things I don’t know or understand.
But I do know this: I can’t stop being me and shining the shine that’s inside me. Couldn’t if I sincerely wanted to and tried. Hell, I have tried. And I always come back to being me.
So I have no choice but to keep going. I suspect the same is true for you. Even if it hurts. Maybe especially when it does. Keeping going, even in the tiniest motions. Sometimes that might mean pausing to catch your breath and just keeping the rock from rolling back to the bottom of the hill.
Rest and breathe. And then keep chopping wood and carrying water, and doing all the mundane tasks that only seem measurable when enough time has passed that we can look back and recognize how far we’ve come.
Addendum: After writing this blog post, I encountered a video by Nick Pollard (@thepeopledispleaser) that is relevant:
“Nobody gives a shit what you’re doing. I’ve walked 700 miles on major streets in the last year making these videos and not one person has ever stopped me to ask me why. Most people are so hung up on how bad they feel about themselves, they don’t have time to think about you.
“The human mentality is extremely selfish. If they’re not actively engaged with you, they probably don’t even know you exist. Do the things that you love with reckless abandon. Be dogmatically weird in who you are, because if you don’t love you, then I can’t know you, and then I can’t love you. The most important gift you will ever give to the world is you.“