Life happens. When it does and you’re forced to take a break from practicing, creating, or working on your career — how do you begin again?
This came up for me big-time after the holidays when I finally had time to work on my eCourse for singers. But then I woke up with a queasy stomach that turned into full-blown abdominal cramping (the gory details of which I won’t go into here.) I tell myself it’s only a virus. Not an emergency. No one’s dying. But still, after more than a week I despaired at ever getting back to normal.
When I’m derailed by life’s inevitable interruptions, I have to remind myself that breaks are a part of the creative process. Resistance is futile. It just makes the process more difficult.
When I finally got better I tried to begin again. But it felt like I was pushing a giant rock up a mountain and it kept rolling back on me again.
When we’re ready to get back to the projects we’ve put on hold, why is beginning again so hard? It takes a while to get into a flow. For me, dipping into a project every day makes it easier, even if it’s just for a few minutes. When an unplanned break happens, I’m afraid I’ll lose my place. I try to leave myself breadcrumbs to find my way back, but inevitably the landscape of my mind changes. I can see where I was, but the path has altered because I’m altered — by time and experience.
When I’m not able to get going again, my inner critic sees an opening to tell me I’m not good enough. Add a fear of failure, and that giant rock I’m pushing becomes a mountain of inertia.
Does that ever happen to you?
Here’s one way I sideline the negative voices in my head so I can get going again. I hope this is helpful to you too.
In the words of a meditation teacher: “Just put your body there.” So simple. So profound. But so not easy. Often the thing that holds us back is the the act of THINKING about starting again. Our minds come up with all kinds of things to distract us. The simplest way to break the cycle is to just put your body there. Can’t practice? Go to your practice space. Can’t write? Sit down with pen and paper. Can’t make that phone call? Pick up the phone and dial. Suddenly you’ve begun!
You might find this New York Times article helpful as it speaks to doing just one thing to start. And it doesn’t have to be big.
Micro-Progress and the Magic of Just Getting Started
By Tim Herrera
If this is helpful to you — please let me know. Also, I’d love to hear what YOU do when you have to begin again.
A few weeks ago I recorded my first interview for the Living A Vocal Life podcast. My conversation with Moana Wolfgramm from The Jets — an amazing group that we toured with in the 80s — was so fun to do. Moana is a joy. I met her when she was only 13 years old. Now a grown woman, with 6 children, she has an incredible story to tell and I can’t wait to share it with you!
I have three more interviews lined up in the coming weeks. I’ll be talking to musical theater singer and actress, Susannah Mars; Rindy Ross, from the platinum selling 80s band Quarterflash; and progressive soul/pop/jazz singer Holly Pyle. The podcast series will launch soon. I’ll keep you posted.