The Logic Behind Showing Up

I pulled out this book yesterday (which I love) (thanks, R, for pointing me in its direction) to re-read its dog-eared pages.  At the book’s outset, Gail Sher outlines what she calls Four Noble Truths for writers.  The fourth one is this:  “If writing is your practice, the only way to fail is to not write.”


She’s right.  There’s no way around the logic.

This applies equally, of course, to any endeavor…painting, baking, spreadsheets, getting up in the morning.  If you do it – even if it’s a struggle and it’s messy – you’re still doing it.  You’re showing up and giving effort; you’re practicing your craft.  If you don’t do it…nothing, nada, zilch.

Like some of you maybe, I occasionally let fear (of messing up, of failing, of looking silly, of not knowing what the end product is) stop me from trying in the first place. And I logically know that being too afraid to pick up my pen or press the shutter button means that I also give up the possibility of writing or shooting something really great.  The fact that I don’t even try leaves me square at zero.  No chance either way.

And, well, when you look at it that way, it lights a little fire.

I wish you a pocket in your day today…five minutes, ten minutes, an hour (whatever you can manage)…to really show up for what’s important to you.  Tend that fire, stir those embers.  Show up.

Then do it again tomorrow.
I’ll be practicing the same.


Sending a little love your way, m


14 thoughts on “The Logic Behind Showing Up

  1. I ran a half marathon last year, just by showing up (well, and training for hours and hours… which would never have been possible if I hadn’t kept showing up!)

    I think the thing too is that when we commit to something, it requires a *new* commitment with every new day, and with every breath…. it’s like an ongoing choosing to keep doing “the thing”.

    Cheering you on from here

  2. Sigh! Yet another book to add to my very looooong list of books to read! : ) I recently came to the same realization, Michelle; that I need to devote time daily to painting, no matter how I might feel. I also realize I need to be kind to myself, to allow myself to be a student once again, to be accepting of what shows up on canvas. Thank you for a great post! xx

    1. I have such a long list too, Grace! when you get to it, enjoy. it’s chock-full of wisdom.

      this business of showing up, this business of practice…it’s an ongoing directing of one’s energy…some days it’s harder than others. your mention of being the student is a great consideration…yes!!

      we don’t have to have it all figured all out. we just need to do it.
      wishing you lots of time to paint… #goyou

  3. So true Michelle. Things can only move forward if we show up. I’ll be looking for that book at my library. Thanks!

    1. it’s such a good book, Faith…definitely one to read and re-read (and re-read). i hope you’ll enjoy it!
      here’s to showing up, to moving forward (or sideways)… xo

  4. oh, yes! So true, Michelle! Thank you for the reminder to continue to “do,” and not worry about judging the production.

  5. Such great advice, M! Yes, we just need to show up, mess or not, and commit or else we miss the opportunity for something magical to happen. xo

  6. so very true! I knit a lot daily, I write somewhat daily, my photo taking has been sparse daily and I have yet to crack open some watercolors….I need to focus and commit, daily!!

    1. Karen, you do so much creative work…I love to see your knitting projects!

      it’s an ongoing process, I think…each day we make that conscious effort to return – again and again – to our work (whatever that work may be). you’re doing it!

  7. Oh Michelle, you know how much I love this book. And I have my copy right here with me now. And in the margins of my tattered and loved book, I have penned something that I learned from someone you interviewed on your blog. She said this: “I sit down with the intent to write, inspired or not.” This act of showing up exceeds worldview. This act of showing up affirms our sameness, not our divisions. And we cannot live with vitality unless we show up. Ready to listen. Ready to receive. Thank you, friend!

    1. dear, dear Rosaria, it’s become a favorite of mine as well and I love the connection it holds to you.

      so good, that bit you penned into the margins of your copy…I remember those words standing out for me too. I’d have to go back to the interviews to double-check but I’m pretty sure that was Cory Sipper. sounds like something she would say. that’s a powerful idea/act, isn’t it?

      I completely agree with you that we cannot live with vitality unless we show up…in all areas of our life. not always easy, but it makes the living so much richer. and the sameness…yes, the sameness.

      thank you, sweet friend.


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