Creative Wisdom: Baby Steps…

September 4, 2012

And so we begin. Each weekday this month I’m going to post a little prompt – some tiny thing you and I can do to begin the creative process. 

Today: turn off the computer, go into your space and clear off a surface… even part of a surface will do.

I started with this – which was the easiest pile to attack in my much neglected studio.

I sorted papers and put things away and found the little stack from the vintage style candy store we visited in Philly this summer. I intended to glue them into something for a collage.
So instead of putting them into another pile, I did.

It might be different for you, but the beginning of any creative process for me requires clearing out space. I am by no means a neat-freak, in fact I’m something of a disaster when it comes to housekeeping. But I find it difficult to work in a cluttered environment and find myself getting frustrated when I have to step over things and can’t find what I’m looking for. I’m well used to distractions from my kids while I’m working – I don’t need any more from my creative environment. It’s a good beginning.

Then I looked over and just kept going for a minute. I had to move the ironing board and Brunhilda, my dress form out of the way to even reach this foot high stack that I’ve been ignoring for months.

This bit of wisdom comes from Susan Simonson (of Arusha, Tanzania)

“You are far too young to remember the movie “What about Bob?” which starred Richard Dreyfus as a psychiatrist and Bill Murray as an emotionally dependent patient.  “Bob” the patient, could not let go of his need to see his doctor, who, in a moment of exasperation, told him to just take ‘Baby Steps’.  Baby Steps are hard to initiate, very wobbly, often directionless, and one is prone to end up on one’s face in the dirt.  But each Baby Step, in and of itself, is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT, if only because one did it!

So whenever I am faced with something that seems too new, too overwhelming, too impossible to envision the end result, then I ‘give myself permission’ to just take a Baby Step.  The accomplishment comes from just lifting one foot off of the ground, one line drawn on paper, one seam sewn, one magic moment of thought; no more, no less; and I can say “I did it!”

The rest comes with practise, hard work and effort.  But at the moment of each Baby Step, that is inconsequential, which is the great thing about Baby Steps. “

Well. I was quite flattered that she thought I was so young. Hey, I’m old enough to remember that I saw it and to know I’ve forgotten all the details.

Nautilus by Sue Price in Freeform Screen Printing

Susan has taken some of my on-line classes at My class, Freeform Screen Printing is currently open for registration and begins September 14.

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