Todd Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, a company that helps people and organizations “generate brilliant ideas.”  In his book about developing a voice, LOUDER THAN WORDS:  Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice, he recounts a piece of advice that artist/illustrator Lisa Congden received from her art teacher.

The teacher told Lisa that the thing to remember is that every creative project (no matter what it is) has a U-shape.  You start with a clear plan and great enthusiasm.  As you work on the project, your natural energy starts fading.

Things that seemed so very simple at the top of that U when you began the thing prove to be complex and unclear and the way gets very boggy as the mist rolls in.  Nothing is as straightforward as it first seemed.  At this point, people often lose heart and give up.

But, he said, if you keep slogging on through the deepest muck at the bottom of that U, then your heart starts to fill up again, your passion revives, you start seeing the patterns of this thing and the fog clears.

You find the path opens up again and your energy will return – sometimes stronger than ever.  When this happens, he said, the resulting work is usually far better than ever seemed possible at the bottom of that U.

For this reason, Henry says, you need to be guided by a larger vision for your work.  Your job (as you slog through the Valley of Despond) is to keep your end-goal in sight, even when your view of it is blocked by frustration and complications.

The antidote for the part when you’re running on fumes at the bottom of the valley is to remain focused on your vision and to keep on taking the next step, then the next one and then the one after that.  You keep going until you get through the downer place.

As Henry says, “There will be peaks upon which everything seems so clear and your work is so on target that you want to share it with everyone you meet, and there will be valleys in which you question why you’re even trying.  It’s all part of the process, and it’s never ending….

Another poem….


And life goes on…

Whatever is happening

Does a slow and stately dance,

Flowing like dark molasses, heavy and dense,

Or else it tumbles like some hip-hopping crew

Zit-zack-zuck, whizzing by,

All the many, many parts

Zooming, on the fly.


Me, I’m just one little bit –

A ‘one’, a ‘zero’, a spectator, really –

Trying (in my way) to see

The whole meshugennah thang,

Trying to go for the grace,

Step-step-stepping lightly,

Looking for the beauty,

And helping other people play.


I can just do little things:

Lend a hand when I can,

Do the small move that evokes a quiet smile,

Turn on the teeny maglight

And shine it on the path,

Turn one small key that opens one more little lock.


And I’ve been thinking…

Maybe that can be a cool thing.

by Netta Kanoho



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

22 thoughts on “GETTING ON THROUGH

  1. I love your poem and your poetry in general.
    I definitely agree that it takes vision in order to be truly successful. We have to keep moving forward even if the path seems foggy or unclear. Doing the little things and creating micro-goals also helps us focus.

    Thanks for the inspiration and keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks for the visit and the comments, Ian. My further thought on it is this: Vision is great but the focus does have to be right, I am noticing. Hitching your wagon to a comet going in the wrong direction might not get you where you want to be going. Hee! Please come again!

  2. This is an outstanding article. I have never looked at motivation and inspiration being like a U shape. It seems I am at the bottom of the curve of the U right now but if I can keep striving to get through it will make the good times all the better, This is perfect timing for me to read something like this, just what I need to steady the ship and getting it sailing smoothly again. Thanks

    1. You’re welcome, Ben…keep ‘er steady, Cap’n! Thanks for the visit. Please come again….

  3. This is so absolutely true and I have bogged down in the murky mud at the bottom the U often enough to vouch for it. I find it is better not to talk about your project but just get on with it. What do you think? Does talking about it dull the edge of your enthusiasm for your writing project? Writing can be exhausting sometimes.

    1. Hey Margaret:

      Thanks for your visit.  Myself, I find that I can very easily talk my story right out of me.  As a writer, I find it’s way better to just keep that pen handy and write down what you want to say.  If you talk it out, it’s like you let all the air out of the balloon or something.  Weird!

      Please do come again….

  4. Hello Netta,

    I have read your article on getting on through life built poem, This is an outstanding article, I love your poem and your poetry. Thanks for the inspiration and  I definitely agree that it takes vision in order to be truly successful. We have to keep moving forward even if the path seems foggy or unclear. keep up the good work.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, tawhid.  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.

      Please do come again….

  5. Babsie Wagner says:

    This absolutely wonderful poem brings to mind something my Mom would always say to me when I was worried.  She’d say, “Babsie, it’s going to work out one way or another.”   What that meant in actuality was “Time will go on, life will continue, and you’re going to handle it no matter what happens.”  Like the poem says, “Life goes on, whatever is happening.”   

    The other thing I really loved is the “lend a hand when I can,” and “Do the small move that evokes a quiet smile.”  As a Christian, my mission is always to “Turn on the teeny maglight,” (as the poem also says) for those that are in need or hurting .  Helping other people is what Jesus taught us to do, and I try to do it everywhere I go when I can.

    Anyway, I wanted to let you know how much I really enjoyed this beautiful poem and what it meant to me!

    1. Babsie, I do thank you for the visit and for sharing your story.  I am pleased you enjoyed the post.

      Please do come again….

  6. Nice poem. 

    Now, this illustration cannot be closer to the truth. We all have something that we have seen all the potentials, dotted our “i” and crossed our “T” ,only to start and encounter that deep end of the “U” and then wanted to throw OR even thrown in the Towel. Maybe if only we had endured till the upper side of the “u” started showing up. 

    Through life’s Up’s and downs, we must always believe that we would get on through and keep the right mindset to be able to take the right decisions and see the breakthrough when it comes. Thanks for this encouraging piece, it was just what I needed, a reminder that after every low, comes a high. 

    1. Thanks for the visit Vapz, and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

  7. Thanks Netta for these poems.  Life and all its situations do come in U shapes don’t they? Just when you think you can’t go on any more there comes a peak. We just have to remain focused on our vision and keep keeping on! No matter how the music of life changes, we just have to keep on dancing! 

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Juliet.  I love your “we just have to keep on dancing!”

      That, there is a definite truth!

      Please do come again….

  8. mhasanalvi says:

    Hi Netta,

    I have read the Whole post about GETTING ON THROUGH.  Really this is an amazing poem. 

    After reading this poem I have become your fan. I got a lots of inspiration from your article which is help me  in my life to moving forward if I am in the wrong track or if the path seems to be hard.

    Thank you very much for sharing such an informative article.I will share this article with my friends and relatives so that they can be motivated from your poem.

    1. Thanks for the visit, mhasanalvi.  Your comment made me smile.  (I can certainly use more fans!)

      Please do come again….  

  9. Hi Netta, hope you are sound well. Today I will not prolong my comments. I would just like to say a few words about the poem AND LIFE GOES ON mentioned in your article. 

    Life flows on the path of endless mankind across the joy and sorrow that have been passing through the light and shadow. The poet scientifically sees himself as a binary digit.  It is really striking. 

    Walking on the path of poetry through a small but great nobility. And open the small windows of the mystery with the acknowledgment and imagination of thought.Really cool!! 

    Thank you sincerely for such a splendid review.

    With best compliments, Ranao

    1. Thanks for the visit, Ranao, and for taking the time to add your thoughts.  You make me smile….

      Please do come again….

  10. Awesome post and poetry! I agree that every creative project (any project actually) has a U-shape. I’ve experienced the shape so many times on pretty much everything I have been doing. I start with a ton of motivation, then I fall into a slump, and now I’m finally coming back up. Just wondering, has writing poems helped you stay motivated in life?

    1. Kevin, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      Writing poetry does help me keep myself motivated.  It also helps me clarify my thinking so that I don’t get overrun with weird downer loop-de-loops that tend to drain me of a spirited response to challenges I encounter.  

      Even when it’s just wah-wah-wah whining, the poems help me get my head straight again.

      I do recommend it.

      Please do come again.

  11. Hi,

    Really nice analogy using motivation and inspiration being like a U shape! Never thought about it because it is assertive to state that you work on the project, your natural energy starts fading, and the poem is something special! 

    I will print it and paste it in my office, cause I feel that creativity flows though those word! Really inspirational!

    Thank you!!! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Johnny.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *