Making a Start

Vision Card Creation

The holiday treats have been eaten, the champagne has been popped and the vision cards have been made. It’s a new year! In some ways this is a glorious time of year. Anything is possible for 2016! It’s a new beginning, a blank canvas, a blank page.

But you know how we creatives can sometimes respond to a blank canvas and a blank page, right?

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How do we start? What do we do? Of the millions of ideas and possibilities, which do we choose? What if we get it wrong? What if we make a mark and wreck the whole thing? Pretty soon we find ourselves simply slipping into the new year as if it were the old year, returning to the familiar, resuming the same patterns, living the same days the same way and waiting for the next new year to come.

So, how do we hold the space for something new to be born? How do we turn our dreamboards and vision cards and inspiration word of the year into the life we want to be living? How do we make a start?

I recently took a class with the wonderful artist and teacher Cat Bennett. She had a shocking and powerful suggestion for dealing with the blank page. As we faced our new and empty sketchbooks, Cat told us to flip through the pages and make marks, just random scribbles and lines on various pages here and there. In a moment of reckless boldness, we were over the threshold of perfect and into action.These new books were now our books.

How can we use that strategy to transform this new year into our year? By taking action.

Here’s what I mean. For years I have been carrying a dream seed in my heart: to launch the studio’s first ever do-good initiative, Give a Girl a Journal. The goal is to get journals into the hands of as many girls as possible and empower them to use them. This year, as I return to the studio, I know it is time. And yet, how quickly I start filling my schedule with the regular things! How easily my mind fills with doubt and details!

It is said that we make time for what is important to us but it is the very importance of Give a Girl a Journal and my belief in its awesome potential that makes it harder for me to dive in, to risk making a mess and getting it wrong. I feel like a painter with an exquisite vision who is afraid that with the first brushstroke she will prove to herself the impossibility of bringing the vision as it is in her head to life.

But there’s the key. We don’t have to bring the vision to life as it is in our head; we simply have to bring the vision to life.

What matters isn’t that I have the perfect webpage or press kit for Give a Girl a Journal (though that would be awesome). What matters is that I get journals into the hands of girls. Period. So I wrote an email to a group of inspiring creative colleagues enlisting their support. I drafted it and then I sat with it, knowing that once I hit send there was no turning back. I let myself feel unsure and fearful. I let myself edit and re-edit (and re-edit just one more time). Then I took a deep breath and I hit send. With that, I marked the page. With that, this year is going to see the birth of a wonderful project.

Do something, anything, that marks your new path. Even if it is messy and awkward it will still be bold and trailblazing.

How will you make this year your year? How will you make a start?

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make every step you take. That’s why it’s your path” Joseph Campbell


  1. Kate says:

    Thank you for this truly helpful reminder, Jamie! I’m grateful for your insight that it’s because we feel certain projects are so important that we don’t start, not because we don’t really want to start. I’m right there right now with taking the next step on connecting young people with poetry. Inspired by your post, I’m sending that flagship email today!

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