I’m in an uncertain creative phase. I’m working on two projects fairly constantly and both are coming to market soon. I’m reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, and I can tell you I feel proud of my vulnerability in trying to create things that truly matter to me. And yet, I also recognize that in my uncertain times, I’m mostly Numbing Greatly.
One of my big projects is a book: Sex Lies & Creativity. I intend to submit it as a Kindle Single and hope it will be accepted. Kindle Singles is Amazon’s in-print answer to TEDTalks.
They’re short books that offer a single idea. My book – that looks at gender differences in how we create and/or don’t, and what lies we have to debunk to collaborate and create well – is mostly written, so most of my worst uncertainty is behind me. Still, as I write this I can easily dredge up the feelings I had before it was written. Thoughts like: How am I going to do this? What will this even be? What if I never get a clear vision? I have to do this, it’s on me.
The other big project is a radio show I’m developing now, Decoding Creativity Radio. I’m in the throes of this uncertainty. I want this show to be funny and inspiring, illustrative. That’s a tall order for anyone. And who do I think I am? Tina Fey? I’m not sure I can bear it. These thoughts turn into doubt and shame and fear. Very quickly, my body can feel it, and my head is casting along the horizon for a way out. My breath is panicked. And before long I’m considering some snack or meal that will help me calm myself “and consider a plan of action.” But I don’t actually consider a plan of action, not necessarily.
As a creative professional I know the solution may not be available to me yet. I need time to incubate. The answers are in my brain. Or at least historically, I my brain has been a reliable source for great, original ideas. Uncertainty – Can I even do this? What if? I want this to be good, really good, better than I can probably make it – wears you down. I’m not sure if it’s bearable.
But the truth is, it is a finite timeframe in the entire process. Sooner or later, I will have written a script or two, and they’ll likely suck. I’ll edit and improve them, and attract good talent to help me record and produce the show, and the uncertainty will abate. And I will begin eating three squares and a modest snack per day again. And if I put the script down for a day or two, and then reread it nervously, I’ll find it’s better than I thought, good in fact.
Sita Chopra at www.sitachopra.com helped me this week with a loving kindness mediation. I put my right hand over my heart, and say the blessings:
- May I be safe?
- May I be happy?
- May I be healthy?
- May I live with ease?
This seems to help me. Uncertainty doesn’t go away or shorten its duration. Uncertainty is like a cold, you just have to live through it; there is no cure. But it may just help me sustain peace and engagement during the time it takes for my dear brain to search its connections and bring me an idea that feels like a surefire way forward. Ahhh… certainty, I await thee yet.