Why You’re Waiting And Waiting And Never Creating

When I was about 8 years old and in school, whenever we had to queue and wait to go out to play, or for lunch, one of the popular schoolkid type sarcastic chants went “whhhhyyyyyy are we waiiiiiiting, why-eeeeee are we waaaaiiiting”. (There was a second verse, something about slowly suffocating which is kind of morbid for 8 year olds.)

Anyway, the point is we hated waiting. We always just wanted to get on with whatever was we about to do, especially if it was football or swimming or lunch or break time. If we had to wait for more than, oh about half a minute, we got a little vocal about it.

When you grow up (I should rephrase that – when you grow older) then waiting seems to happen more and more.

Yes there’s the queue in the supermarket, or at the train station, or hanging on the end of the phone trying to make a call to customer services while they tell you how valuable your call is to them and congratulations now you’re only 37th in line to be served.

But most of the waiting, especially in the area of creativity, is self imposed.

image: rayparnova

We wait to begin creating until we have enough time. (Ironic, I know!) How could we possibly even contemplate starting something if we don’t have at least 4 hours spare to ease ourselves into it?

We wait to begin creating until we have exactly the right set of materials. Even if we’ve been searching for them and gathering them for weeks, or months. We can’t possibly just create, we must have every possible material and tool close to hand, just in case we need them.

We wait to begin creating until we have the perfect idea. The most glorious idea we’ve ever had. Our creative time and energy is so precious, we can’t possible waste on exploring ideas that might be brilliant, we must wait until we have one we are guaranteed will be brilliant.

We wait to begin creating until we have absolute solitude. Until every demand upon us has been met and we have been left completely alone to create. How could we possibly begin something so selfish as creating art, when there are all these people that can’t live without us looking after their every last need?

We wait to begin creating until we feel in the mood.
Until the weather conditions are just right, until our bodies are at the exact right weight and temperature, our stomachs just full enough with the right food, our clothing perfectly comfortable, our homes clean and organised, our books all neatly aligned and in size order, our fingernails the right length, and our hair beautifully in place.

We wait and we wait and we wait. And still we don’t create.

All of this waiting comes down to a single word. It begins with P, but it’s probably not the P word you’re thinking of. This P word is – Permission.

No-one in the world can give you permission to create other than you.

All of those reasons for waiting we talked about above are just excuses. We’re just putting off creating because we’re scared.

Any of us can create in 5 minutes in the middle of a busy city with just a pencil and paper. You could write or draw the beginnings of something, you could start that creativity flowing with the most minimal of materials.

It’s ok to be scared. We all get scared.

You have your creative talents and gifts for a reason. To use them. To use them to enhance your life, and to enhance the lives of those around you and come into contact with you.

You must no longer wait. You must create.

I would encourage you to find a couple of little time slots each and every day, even if just for 10 or 15 minutes. Start to build that daily habit. The more you do, the easier it will become.

Back in school, our chant didn’t have a verse that went “because we’re scared.” Your version of the song does, but that just means you’re like the rest of us here trying to honour our creativity as best we can too.

We must no longer wait. We must create.

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8 thoughts on “Why You’re Waiting And Waiting And Never Creating”

  1. Just wanted to say thanks for the link — and for reminding me of that playground chant!

    We used to have “Why are we waiting, we are suffocating” as ours…

    Really good points here about permission. I think we put off a lot of things, but especially creative activity, because we’re somehow waiting for someone to come and grant permission. And you’re completely right, the only person who can give us that is ourselves.

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  2. Thanks Ali, your article was inspiring in writing mine.

    And thanks re the playground chant, I KNEW there was something about suffocating!

    I think the permission idea also links in with what we see as generally accepted or ok. If we lived somewhere where we regularly see people dancing in the streets, painting in parks, sketching in cafes, then it makes us much more likely to do it ourselves.

    And this is another reason why WE should create proudly, so other people get that nudge from seeing us creating out in the open.

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  3. After every paragraph I thought, “That’s me,” except for the the idea part. I have a notebook full of art ideas and themes to explore but the fear of failure stands in the way.

    As I’ve learned from many of your previous posts, looking at what I perceive as success, taking those small steps, and giving myself permission to “fail” will help direct me to the result I am seeking while enjoying the journey.

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  4. “All of those reasons for waiting we talked about above are just excuses. We’re just putting off creating because we’re scared.”

    It was a very lovely point,Dan.

    I’ve been went through the exact reasoning up all day process myself and I do much less of it but the beautiful side of my previous habit is, it accumulates me many emotional energies that when I finally “had enough” and decide to do it, I channel out all the energies and do things very seriously 🙂

    So I think when we were ALREADY excusing ourselves heavily, rather than negatively getting frustrated from it, we can instead use the emotion energy to pump ourselves up very powerfully 😉

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    1. Hi Sandy, thanks for commenting.

      That’s great if you can somehow let those energies store up. It sounds like a dam building and building up pressure until one day the pressure is so great the dam has to burst and flood the land below.

      I like the idea myself of a steady flow every day (even if it’s just a trickle sometimes) to keep us creating, then yes these huge surges of creativity that build and burst in addition.

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