Do you ever have big ideas - like producing a show or starting a business - but you’re not quite sure how to jump from A to Z?
It can feel like a huge leap with a lot of unknowns, and often it stops us from actually moving forward with anything.
I dealt with that feeling years ago - wanting to dance again but not feeling like it was realistic or possible. I was out of shape, overworking (so it felt like I had no time), and I did not want to step foot in a classroom, nevermind a stage.
Someone once asked me how I went from that stuck energy to a place where dance is a major focus in my life and career. (I’m now teaching dance, making videos, and producing my own show this fall.)
I started one dance at a time. I decided to dance at home. Then I made a dance video and shared it. Then I made another one. And so on.
And my answer for you is the same. Start small. The small steps really do add up.
When I look back at the trajectory I followed through the various steps in my journey, there’s a basic pattern I followed and I want to share that with you here today.
It can be scary to step into the unknown and get started, and so I hope this helps. Think of it as a roadmap for your own creative footsteps...
The Evolution of a Creative Outlet:
Tap into your desire or inspiration to do or make something. Stay open and receptive until you feel that impulse.
real life example: I started to realize I needed to dance again when I found myself getting jealous and sad looking at old dance friends’ Facebook posts of their latest performances. I had been denying that I was still a dancer, but the impulse started to become more real.
Try something out, plain and simply. If you’re clear on exactly the kind of creative outlet you want to be doing, go for it! If not, try different modes.
real life example: Since I was too intimidated to get back into a dance studio and take formal classes, I started experimenting with dancing on my own. I tried learning choreography from music videos on YouTube, improvising my own stuff, and later making my own dance videos.
When you like how something feels or works, do it again! And again! This is how you start to build a practice, or a craft.
real life example: I really loved making my own dance videos. Not only was I dancing more, but I got to exercise a different part of my creativity through the video editing. I kept making videos in various places and it became a practice. (Note: I never had a formal schedule for making the videos, I would just make one when I felt like it. It’s up to you whether or not you feel the need to schedule in regular time for your own practice.)
Find ways to share it with others. In the beginning stages of your process, be cautious with who you share it with and only choose audiences you know and trust.
real life example: Before I went public on YouTube, I would share the videos I made with close friends, just to let someone in on what I was doing and test out their reaction. Eventually I started sharing on my Facebook page, and later made the YouTube channel public and no longer anonymous. While it was satisfying to create the videos on my own, I felt that the sharing completed a process and passed on the creative energy.
Let it become something else. Your creative process will evolve and take on a shape of it’s own at some point. It will very often feel like it is leading you in a certain way, but there might be some decisions to be made in refining its shape. Some examples of what it can evolve into: a show, a blog, a story, a class you teach, etc.
real life example: Once I had been making the dance videos for a couple of years, I felt compelled to share them in a more formal way and be more visible with them in my coaching practice. I started a tumblr blog for the dance videos and later a wordpress blog called Creative Fridays where I not only shared dance videos, but also tracked my journey into becoming an artist as a way to help others on a similar path. Not only did my whole focus as a coach switch to the creative realm, but my work as an artist continued to grow and I got involved with various dance projects down the road. (It all started with that desperate night making frowny faces at other people’s Facebook dance posts ;)
Notice how it starts with the Impulse and ends with Shaping. Very often our creative minds can start shaping the initial impulse right away – i.e. “Wow! I have this amazing idea! I’m gonna turn it into an international program to make art happen EVERYWHERE!”
While those grander visions are important – and fun to dream about! – you can’t let them overtake everything and stop you from doing the most important thing: starting. That is, taking the first step.
Or the first skip. Which brings me to a real life example that will further illustrate the point...
The Evolution in Action:
In an interview event I did with my former client Michelle Joni yesterday, we discussed her Skipping Club and how it evolved from a weekly drop-in event to an official 3-month “Memberskip Program.” She got the idea (Impulse) on the way to a manicure when she spontaneously started skipping through the streets (Experimentation), and from there knew it had to become a weekly thing that she shared with others (Repetition & Sharing). Every week for 6 months she led a Skipping Club!
Influenced a lot by the work we did together in the Thriving Artist’s Program, she has now found a way to structure it into a program (Shaping) that is going to serve even more people in even more palpable ways.
Check out the interview here as well as her Memberskip Program:
Another awesome former client Deirdre started working with me in the midst of feeling frustrated with her teaching job and wanting to start up her own painting again (Impulse).
Through our work together of getting past fears and connecting to her value, she started making time to paint. There were many times when she felt frustrated with the process and disliked her work, but she kept trying (Experimentation).
Then one day she found a class in Touch Drawing that wowed her and tapped into something really profound in her artistic voice. She began to practice this form more regularly (Repetition).
She showcased her work at the Creative Fridays Showcase twice (Sharing), and now has started a workshop series to teach this form of painting (Shaping). She has a workshop coming up this Sunday that I highly recommend you check out!
Back to you:
I hope this map and these illustrations help you to feel less daunted by your own creative ideas.
If you’re feeling stuck in any of those phases, reach out to me and let’s talk. My coaching programs are designed with this process in mind so that you can bring your ideas to fruition in a natural and easeful way.
And remember that both Michelle and Deirdre won’t stop here - their work will continue to cycle through those phases and evolve as they do. And so will yours.
So where are you in the evolution?
Share more about your process in the comments below and let’s support each other’s evolution!
to making art happen,