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Just Show Up

On Making Excuses For Not Doing the Creative Work

“Hey, bro. Sooooo sorry I can’t make it tonight – some last minute stuff came up and I can’t get out of it. Really bummed out. Wondering if I could still get some constructive criticism on my stuff though. I really wanna get serious about this and would appreciate the feedback. Peace out.”

“Last minute stuff”? Yeah, right. Heard that one before…

This was the gyst of a real message sent by a student to a visiting mentor. A very talented musician, poet, videographer, and over all inspirational creative was the guest at the high school where I used to teach, working with students to create poetry, original songs, and high quality videos. After a successful week, the culminating concert was scheduled so that students could showcase their achievements.

The talented young ‘rapper’ who sent the message had assured everyone that he was coming, but at the last minute he bailed. I don’t know about you, but the message between the lines screams, “I found something better to do and I’m making excuses cause I just don’t feel like making the effort.”

As the guest pointed out the next day at a professional development session he held with teachers, if people really want to get serious about their creative endeavours, they need to quit sabotaging their own success. There are loads of talented people out there, but talent isn’t enough. To be a success as an artist – no matter the discipline – one has to show up. Period.

The lesson learned from this scenario can be easily transferred to my life as a writer. I don’t need to read yet another motivational book on writing and I don’t need to invent a complicated time management scheme. Instead of looking for elaborate solutions to upping my productivity, the answer is really quite simple. Just show up.

This article first appeared in the August issue of FellowScript Magazine.


  1. Sharon Espeseth says:

    Thanks, Tracy. I’m sure I read this in Fellowscript as I usually read it cover to cover. I did, however, read it again. This is such a great reminder, because I am dealing with the concerns of caregiving, but I still need to carve out time for myself to pursue my own creative endeavours. Just show up, eh! Got that, my friend.

  2. Dolores Schultz says:

    So true !! No matter how old we are we still make excuses for not doing something we want or should do. Love it…JUST SHOW UP !! Needed a reminder.
    Thanks, Tracy. Good work you are doing.

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