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Excerpted from Walking in This World by Julia Cameron. Copyright 2002 by Julia Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"If you are a beginning musician and want to learn piano, sit down at the piano and touch the keys."

  Julia Cameron, Walking in This World, Part 1

You say you want to make art. You want to begin or you want to continue. This is good. We need a more artful world, and that means we need you and the specific contribution that you and you alone can make. But to make it you must start somewhere, and that is often the sticking point.

"It's too late."

"I'm not good enough."

"I'll never be able to pull this off."

We all have our fears, and they feel as real as the chair you are sitting in. Like that chair, they can be slouched into or left behind. Sometimes we need to sit up and ignore the cricks in our back and shoulders and just begin. That's how it is with art.

We just need to begin.

Begin where you are, with who you are. In order to go where you want to go creatively, you have to start somewhere. And the best place to start is precisely where you are. This is true whether you are a beginning artist or someone with long miles down the track. In fact, seasoned artists can waste time and energy mulling the dignity of their acquired position in the field when the truth is, they still need to just start again.

Writing doesn't really care about where you do it. It cares that you do it. The same is true for drawing. I watched a friend of mine waste a solid year because he "couldn't work without a studio." When he did get a studio and went back to work, what he made were a few largish paintings but a great many beautiful miniature charcoal and pencil drawings that he could have done on a TV table had he been so inclined. No, he didn't work-not because he didn't have a studio but because he didn't work. There is room for art in any life we have-any life, no matter how crowded or overstuffed, no matter how arid or empty. We are the "block" we perceive.

If you are a beginning musician and want to learn piano, sit down at the piano and touch the keys. Great. Tomorrow you can sit down at the piano and touch the keys again. Five minutes a day is better than no minutes a day. Five minutes might lead to ten, just as a tentative embrace leads to something more passionate. Making art is making love with life. We open ourselves to art as to love.

Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead of kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small, enticing steps. How many of us have burned through promising relationships by moving too swiftly? How many of us have burned out in new creative ventures by setting goals too high? Most of us.

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