I was chatting with my friend Laurie the other day and expressing my confusion about some new directions in my creative business. I admitted that I had been walking (literally through the streets) for a couple of days in a wobbly fog. Praying clarity would find me if I walked long enough. She responded, “I heard the best thing recently – Ready, fire, aim!”
At first I thought she just said it wrong, but then I got it. Ready, fire, aim. Genius! And I kept coming back to it in the days that followed. Ready, fire, aim. This is often how the creative process unfolds. We are not always clear. Sometimes we have to throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.
It’s great when we know exactly which direction to head in, when we can see our destination and just need to keep showing up until we’re there. We ready ourselves, we hone in on where we are going and then we leap. My linear mind loves this kind of clarity and purpose.
But what about when we’re confused? When our next steps are unclear? When even the destination is blurry? Enter paralysis. Stuckness. Confusion. And I find that the longer I am confused, the more my confidence gets stripped away.
This is what happens to me: I start thinking a lot. I process with a lot of people, I go to therapy, I call my psychic. And sometimes that does the trick. Somewhere in these conversations I find my intuition. I find the resonance, the choice that feels most alive in me. My aiming process has a lot to do with extroversion. I tend to think better when I am sharing with others so I often find clarity in conversation.
But lately, about many things, I have felt lost. Is this the right choice? or is that? This path or that one? I feel wobbly and lost and like I have a broken GPS system.
But then I heard those 3 little words- Ready, fire, aim. And I got it.
Just do something, anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s the perfect thing. You can course correct later.
My friend Kelly Rae has a great philosophy about making her artwork. “There are no mistakes!” she assures me as we squeeze tubes of paint onto palettes and collect pretty pieces of paper for collage. “Just throw shit down! Whatever color delights you, grab it. If you get stuck, close your eyes and pick another bottle. It doesn’t matter because there are no mistakes, just an unfolding that gets richer and more interesting as it grows.”
How’s that for some metaphor?
If you are stuck, confused or feeling wobbly these days, you are not alone. Let’s ready, fire, aim together and keep the energy and aliveness moving.
Let’s not wait for the perfect anything. Let’s just say yes and go.
This is so wonderful! I count myself among the many creative folks who get in their own way more often than not, and think way too hard about things. I love this because it insists that we trust ourselves to have the common sense to re-focus and aim as we need down the road. Thanks, Andrea!
YEAH! Thanks for this, Andrea 🙂
Let’s be brave and fire! 🙂
When you said this, “My aiming process has a lot to do with extroversion. I tend to think better when I am sharing with others so I often find clarity in conversation,” it made me think of sonar, communicating underwater or even in the air by sending out a sound and listening to the quality of the echo. And I wholeheartedly agree that we just have to show up and keep moving, trust that it will work itself out, that something will be revealed–it happens so often to me (the not knowing) that I’m starting to think of it as part of my method, an essential element of my practice–“just throw shit down!”
Andrea, I am surprised to hear you experience this because I feel like that is one of THE BEST photography things I’ve learned from you. Shoot shoot shoot. Get it perfect later. Some of the best work is not the planned out work but the work that just happens when you are creating. Have faith in yourself and in your intuition. All things that have come as lessons from you!
It is also refreshing to know that sometimes you experience it too.
Recently not waiting for the perfect thing, I played in the rain with my boys and shot this from the hip:
You’re my favorite feel-good, jam-packed-with-wisdom blog!
This is what I’ve started to do lately, too. I realize through making the step whether I want to keep stepping in that direction. I wish it were a little clearer honestly. In the past, I thought I would intuit the answer best, and over-thought things to death. The real world is different than in my mind though, of course, and some things have to be experienced to be known. It means I have to cancel stuff and back out of things more than I might like, but oh well. I’m not quite there yet, but I aspire to the free place of “throwing shit down”, I tell ya.
just what i needed to hear!!! ready, fire, aim!! my god, it’s genius! hehe.
There are no mistakes. Let’s just say yes and go. Ready, fire, aim.
Amen. You bring me so much light. Give me so much hope. 🙂
Thank you, Andrea, and all your wonderful friends.
Very encouraging Andrea. I do that all the time with my art, writing, websites and photography without knowing what the target is. It’s the need to create which overwhelms my need to find a resolution in the end. I’m glad that you and others are feeling the same way; makes me feel less alone. 🙂
Every time I read your blog I read something wonderful. I get this.. totally. xo
Oh my gosh, I’ve felt so wobbly, I thought I was a Weeble…
Yes yes yes!
this is so true! recently i’ve been stuck in this place of indecision, consumed with anxious thoughts about what i should do…what i’d gain if i went one way, or lost if i went another way… and once i’d made my decision to just go… more of my energy is now spent in how to make that decision work. thanks for sharing…
Oh gosh, Andrea – as usual you and Kelly Rae are helping my brain function a bit better! I’m taking Laurie Wagner’s writing class but haven’t submitted anything since last week because I feel so stuck and inadequate! But now I know the answer: “Just throw shit down!!!” I LOVE IT! I’m going to put in on pretty paper and stick it up where I can see it every day!!! I love you guys!!! Thanks for making me day.!
I’m a bit late on reading this but it came at such a perfect time for me. Love the way you describe your experiences and share. You always seem to explain feelings I’ve not been able to even put into words. Your candidness is much appreciated.
I like the idea of making SOME decision – ready, fire, aim – rather than waffling around as I tend to do, collecting information – I call this “research”, looking for the “right” answer, or polling (I am learning to trust my own instincts and information, and find I need to poll less – this is the gift of my forties).
Still, I am very much a talk-to-think person. Sometimes I do not know just what it is I am trying to say until I hear it come out of my mouth. Sometimes I am surprised most of all. And then I max out on people altogether, and need to sit by a beach or walk in the woods or something NOT talking. That is when my soul can catch a breath.
I’m not sure how all that will work with WDS this weekend. Pacing will be key, I think.
boohoohoo!! that one hit the spot! whaaaa!!! thank you!
Just found your blog and this post. Your pep talk is just what I needed today. Thank you!
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