I love yarn. I love blank journals. I love new boxes of crayons. But when it comes time to cast on for a knitting project, put pen to page, or make the first waxy mark on a clean sheet of paper, I hesitate, vacillate, and procrastinate. Why?
These objects embody creative potential. That yarn could become a cozy sweater or a pair of mittens, that journal could be for research or sketching or the things I encounter that surprise me. But as long as I haven’t started, these are all still possibilities. So to get myself to get started, this is what I say:
To create is to commit.
You can’t erase crayon, and you can’t be creative without making some irreversible choices. Sure, most word processors let you hit backspace, and unknitting isn’t that hard either, but eventually you will have to hit submit, or wash and block your finished garment. The potential in yarn and paper is only there if you can choose to do something with it.
This is why I’m writing a blog post here every week. I’ve “started” several blogs with no blog posts because I haven’t decided yet what I want my theme to be. Life? Habits? Communication? Books? Math? I could dither forever. But waiting to start until I have the perfect idea will mean I never start, so I’m starting before I feel ready, and I’ll figure it out as I go. And then every week, I wonder whether one of my other post ideas would be more timely or important than the one I’m working on, and equally whether maybe I should wait to post that one until I can really do it justice. So I tell myself that to create is to commit, just pick whatever topic I feel like I can manage to write about in one weekend, and do it whether what I make is any good or not.
And sometimes I manage to use those crayons too.