Show up

Some days you won’t feel like doing creative work.

The lonesome canvas will appear daunting, the thought of typing any lengthy paragraph will be a depressing one, your instrument will feel heavy, and the day’s hours will twist into your side like a bolt into wood.

Exhaustion, anxiety, distractions, a tired brain: whatever the cause, you just won’t be up for the work that comes with any creative task, some days.

I felt like that while writing this.

But we can’t afford not to show up to do the work, you and I. We have to at least make a few strokes on the canvas, type a few paragraphs, or play a few melodies. Even on days we don’t want to.

No, as a creative, you are the only one who can do the work just the way you can. Your brush or pen strokes are uniquely yours, nobody else can make them for you. The same goes for the words you write, the songs you sing, the pictures you take, the moves you dance, or the floor plans you draw-up.

Your ideas and the way you execute them are strictly your own. They are a great part of the value youprovide. To not show up is to deny your work and your ideas existence.

So we have to show up, whenever physically able. At least for a moment, for a few key presses or a few flicks of the brush.

Even on the days you don’t feel like it, showing up can make all the difference. If you show up and start the work – even though it feels so heavy to do so – what you end up making could be all you need to keep moving, to keep creating.

What you make may not be remarkable though. Maybe you’ll be too distraught, too overwhelmed, too mentally distant to make anything phenomenal. But consider the fact that what you make when you show up anyway is something that otherwise never would have existed.

There’s immense value in creating crap. The crap helps you identify the very difference between crap and great work.

Or, if you’re just a little lucky, what happens when you show up, even when you don’t feel like it, is that you create something that never would have been created if you had felt any other way. Something completely unique to you and/or your craft. The result of your mood at the time.

Yes, take breaks when you absolutely can’t lift the pencil or focus enough to round in the ideas. But if you can show up – if you can just show up to do some part of the work – that could be enough to shift your momentum, to keep your work flowing, to make something utterly great.

So show up, even on the days you don’t feel like it.