Too often, our first instinct is to say, “No. I can’t,” when an opportunity or an idea arises. This soon becomes habit and this habit begins to eat away at our creativity. Ideas come and are dismissed or begin to never come at all.
Jim Carrey starred in a movie called Yes Man in 2008. In the story, the main character changes his thinking by saying, “Yes,” to everything and never saying “No.” It was a decent movie, but the point was made. He learned and experienced things he never would have had he not taken a risk and a chance.
As creators, as writers, we have an endless supply of ideas. We have to challenge ourselves with new tasks, new styles, new ways of doing things.
As a songwriter, I’ve tried my hand at several different styles of music. I’ve written rock, metal, folk, country, even rap and pop. While the music business does want to pigeonhole and label – they can sell it better that way – creativity doesn’t fit neatly into a box. And we can learn more by going outside our comfort zones.
It is the same as an author. When I decided to write a fantasy story, I had never written one before. I knew the main authors and series, but I wasn’t as familiar with the genre as, say, SciFi or especially horror. But when I decided to explore the idea, I also committed to figuring it out along the way.
Even as I continue to write the Eres Chronicles, I try and challenge myself with something in each book, something I’ve never done before. In writing The Pack, I wrote more organically and did more in the first person.
I can’t explore every idea, so practically, I can’t say YES to everything. But in order to grow, we must say YES to things we’ve never done before, selecting based on our passion and intentional growth.
We will feel as if we can’t. That is natural. But we move forward anyway, trusting that we can figure it out after the commitment. No great achievement was ever begun with “I can’t.” Most were begun with, “I don’t know how, but I will figure it out.” We are sometimes surprised at what we produce.