If I never gave up

IF by Corita Kent

The hardest part of writing – both songwriting and copywriting – is showing up day after day and doing the work.

Even harder than showing up to your desk to do that work, opening a brand new page or looking at an unfinished project, is finding a sense of possibility when it feels like it’s evaporated.

The word possibility means:

  • something being possible
  • one’s utmost power, capacity, or ability
  • potential or prospective value
  • from the Latin possibilis “able to be done”

This morning when I sat down to work, I did not feel that what I set out to do was possible. My sense of possibility was chased away by the warring magpies outside (and possibly some sad news from late last night).

Hope is another name for the sense of possibility. And somehow, I clawed hope back this afternoon and found some of the energy I needed to stay focused and do what I needed to.

These are some of the questions I asked myself to regain some of my creative energy and optimism in my work today:

  1. “something being possible”
    Have I done this before? Has someone else done this before? Do I just need more time? Probably, the answer to this question is yes, and if it’s no…here’s an opportunity to create some history. Be the first. You can do it.
  2. “one’s utmost power, capacity or ability”
    What 5 things can I do that aren’t dependent on anyone else? What can I create? Who can I connect with? What’s within my power? Usually, there’s at least one action available.
  3. “potential or prospective value”
    What skills do I have that are valuable? What can I do now that could open a door in the future? What skills can I practice right now that might help me later?
  4. “able to be done”
    What am I able to do? What tools can I use right now? Ideas include: research the problem I feel stuck on, ask someone for help, tell a friend I’m having a bad day, experiment and see if something works, or put a timer on and give myself permission to stop.

Some days it’s better to call it quits and go for a walk or do something (anything!) else rather than beat yourself up. But when you’re navigating the creative process everyday, it helps to know that even on a low day there are still ways to keep going.

Consistency is probably the most magical ingredient in all creative works. If I never gave up…what would be possible?

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