A Cure for Creative Overwhelm: Start Small and Slow

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I've been consistent in telling my fellow writers to take heart and write big.

And I stand by this advice. But for the season you're in.

If you're having trouble sticking to your writing and going deep, what are you to do?

What if you're just beginning?

What if you don't yet see your ability to write big? What if you're just starting out and don't know where to begin? What if you feel lost in a sea of things to say yet can't yet access the language you're seeking?

That's OK. Being in stage one is part of the process. We all begin somewhere.

That's why, if your writing is stale or stagnant or unproductive one way to freshen it up is by taking a new approach.

My suggestion is, if you're becoming overwhelmed by the idea of writing consistently, write small.

If you're too tied up in priorities to create an entire painting, paint small.

If your imagination is out to lunch and you cannot yet find what you want to create, free yourself to create something very small.

In this practice, it's not necessarily about what you create or write, but your ability to push forward and make small progress. Freeing yourself from the chains of your excuses is powerful and can build momentum.

Once you feel the weight of your own doubt lifted from you, you feel freer. You get a clear vision of your ability to create.

You're not just creating to measure up to an impossible standard. But you're freeing yourself to become a new creation — a person who is more forgiving of your own imperfections and mistakes.

This is a much easier person to live with than with someone who is constantly criticizing themselves for every little error. Because when you do make a wrong move, you can forgive yourself and move on — knowing that you will learn and do better the next time. You won't get hung up on the small things.

Creating small is more about momentum than it is about perfection. Or tackling it all.

Give yourself the permission to move forward. No matter how small it may seem.

It does matter. Whether you feel it or not.

Brandon Keith