Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

How to Start Creating When You Don't Know How to Start

Creativity coach Fiona Gregory provides her top tips on the creative life.

Eric Maisel
Creativity Coaches on Creativity
Source: Eric Maisel

What creative person hasn’t spent hard days not managing to get started? For unproductive creatives, these days can stretch into hard weeks, months, and even years. Learning “how to start” and practicing “daily starting” are keys to a creative life. In today’s post, creativity coach Fi Gregory explores this theme.

Fi explained:

The following principles will help you get your show on the road with confidence, courage, and creativity.

Get Practical With Your Creative Intentions

Declare your intention to create. Write it down. Speak it aloud. Tell a friend. Creativity is the act of showing up for something you intend to do. Set yourself up for success by getting specific about the how, when, and where. Declare it, schedule it, then begin.

Embrace Your Perfectly Imperfect Conditions

You want what’s best for your creations, but best is not the same as perfect. Perfect stands firmly on the other side of today's obstacles. Best meets you today – where you are, with what you have. To start, you must choose to create in your perfectly imperfect conditions. Replace “I don’t know … I don’t have … I can’t do …” with “I will find out ... I do have 15 minutes … I can do one thing today.”

Give Yourself Permission to Be a Beginner

Every time you embark on something, you are not only at the beginning of it, you are also a beginner of it. This is a good thing. Your beginner’s mind is an eager explorer of the unknown. Warm up this playful side with a quick game – draw with your least dominant hand, read or write a sentence backwards, or better still, create your own game.

Break It Down to Move It Forward

Whether you have an overwhelmingly big idea or an unclear calling to explore something new, breaking it down is the way to move forward. Use Post-It notes to brainstorm the tasks involved, one Post-It for each task. Break each task into the smallest possible action. For example, “Get materials” becomes, “research materials,” “decide on materials,” and “purchase materials.” Keep it simple by taking it one Post-It note at a time. Move completed Post-Its to a “completed actions” area so you can see and celebrate your progress.

Ignite Your Creative Fire

Before you take action, anticipation, excitement and fear can flicker in your mind. Fears and doubts are self-igniting, so you must fan the creative flames of curiosity, confidence, and courage. Ignite a fire of belief that you have what it takes to meet the challenges of entering the unknown. Make an affirmation: “I am a match for this mountain!”

Create Your Starting Ritual

When you start, you are more than simply starting – you are crossing the threshold into the world of creative process. Create a ritual to mark this new process. Light a candle to symbolize the fire of confidence and courage you carry. “The fire within me lights the way.” Know that you can re-ignite your creative fire, every step of the way, by lighting a candle in this way.

Create Your Map as You Go

Maps are created by someone who has already done the journey. Your journey ahead is uncharted territory. Don’t let someone else’s map deter or delay you. No amount of thinking or planning can create total certainty or clarity, so it’s time to trust you can navigate your own unique route. Be the explorer of your adventure and stay open to the surprises along the way!

More from Psychology Today

More from Eric R. Maisel Ph.D.

More from Psychology Today