Are You Queueing Up To Be Creative In A Endless Parade Of You?

The Longest Queue
image: mrlerone

You know that frustrating feeling of being in a shop, in a queue, trying to wait patiently to buy your couple of items, when there’s people in front of you with dozens of items that seem to be moving in slow motion, or maybe even backwards?

You keep glancing at other queues, wondering whether to take your chances and switch to a line that appears to be moving more quickly, or to stick it out in the one you’re in and hope it might speed up a bit soon.

All the while you’re thinking of all the other far more interesting and creative things you could be doing with your time.

We’ve all been there.

Sometimes though, it feels like this when we’re trying to create.

It feels as if we’re in a seemingly endless line, full of people who are obviously strangers to the concept of urgency (or even the concept of motion!), waiting our turn and getting ever more tense and impatient.

But whereas in the supermarket, the line you’re in actually is made up of other people, what if when your queueing up to be creative, every other person in front of you is actually YOU?

What if you’ve been telling yourself you’d be so much more creative if only there weren’t all these obstacles (people) in your way, believing that they were obstacles put there by others, when in fact they are all of your own making? They are all you.

Picture yourself in this queue, looking down the line, then everyone in front of you turning round and having your face. Everyone turning into you, and staring back at you, right before your eyes.

Can you visualise it? Kind of spooky isn’t it?

So what if this is true? What if you are stuck in a parade full of you, every single one of you another hurdle in the way of you creating freely and happily?

How do you get out of the way of yourself and let yourself create?

First, by simply recognising that all those excuses you make up about not having the time, the perfect space, the right materials, and a dozen other things to create, are just excuses. Excuses made by you, no-one else.

You need very little to create. The only absolute essential is your imagination, and that’s always present and raring to go.

By convincing ourselves we need an elaborate series of conditions to all be perfectly aligned before we even begin creating keeps us in a frustrated state of non-creativity.

It keeps us suspended, like a caterpillar who one day went into her cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly, but then never woke up again.

What a tragic scene you’ve created, without even knowing.

The second step, once you’ve been brave and honest enough to acknowledge that everyone ahead of you in the queue is you, is to start moving each one of you out of your way, and letting your creativity through.

There are two approaches here.

You can either go up to the next person in front of you (the next you) and try to explain how important it is for you to pass them in the line and why you need to create, and hope they let you pass.

Maybe this person is the version of you that gets caught up in procrastinating. So your conversation might be spent in endless discussion about whether you’re procrastinating or not, if so when, how, why, for how long and so on.

By the time you’ve explored every possible angle of this debate with Procrastination You, you’ll probably look up and realise that a dozen others have joined the queue and overtaken you, and you’re even further from creating than you were when you began!

The same is likely to happen whichever version of yourself there in the queue front of you you try to engage in conversation with and convince to get out of your way.

Procrastination You, Perfectionism You, Inner Critic You, Unfocused You, I-Never-Have-Time-To-Create You and many other variants. Same outcome – lots of long winded analysis that leads nowhere but backwards.

So maybe this isn’t the best approach.

Let’s try approach number two. This is a little simpler.

You choose to leave the queue and go and create.

That’s it.

You stop spending your time and energy amidst all these versions of yourself that try to block you from creating, and take the most direct, obvious, and ultimately the easiest route to creating.

You just decide you’re going to create, leave this gaggle of confused and quarrelsome people behind, and do it.

And the simplest way to do this is just to set a little time aside each day to create, and do it.

We’re not talking hours on end, you can start with just 15 or 20 minutes, or even less.

This is a tiny amount of time, but it’s enough to get started and create something meaningful each day. Plus, remember, because you’ve left that queue completely, you’re actually saving yourself so much time, that previously you were spending getting frustrated and feeling further and further from creating.

So, how long have you been queueing up to create in a endless parade of you?

What are you going to do today to change this, to start creating all you need to create? Over to you.


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7 thoughts on “Are You Queueing Up To Be Creative In A Endless Parade Of You?”

  1. Great post here Dan. As a professional songwriter all I can add is – showing up is 99% of the job. In other words, just do it. That means suspending judgment and not worrying about always creating great work. It’s important to make the effort and that in itself is a victory.


    1. Yes I think it was Woody Allen who said something like 90% of success is just showing up. I completely agree. Thanks for reading Billy.


  2. Dan, excellent perspective. I really liked the analogy. As a creative many of us think big but we often don’t act on those ideas. Thinking big is important but acting big and taking risk is even more important.

    I follow your blog every day and appreciate your thoughts.



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