Advice for Writers and Everyone Else
Hello, friends! How are you? I hope you’re well and happy and full of creative energy. I hope that you’re living the fullest life possible allowing your imaginative spirit to fully embrace those nuggets of inspiration that fleet and flitter in front of our faces every moment. I hope that you’re living boldly without inhibition or fear of rejection because to repress creative energy is to repress your soul from expressing itself freely and honestly. As much as I hope that you’re living free, I know that it’s hard to do. I know it’s hard to live without fear of condemnation and rejection.
Can we talk about that?
Earlier this week I was ruminating on what topic to write about on the blog. I knew I wanted to write about creative living, but I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go. Then, last night, I was thinking about some of the public speaking gigs I’ve done at local high schools and I remembered a question that one of the students asked me. The question was, “Who do you write for? Do you write for your readers or for yourself?”
Oh, what a loaded question. It should be simple, right? Ha! Not so much. In fact, it’s a question that spills over into all aspects of life – not just the writing life.
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainty.” Eric Fromm
Creativity is a delicate yet powerful force. Power in the sense that it can sweep us up into a frenzy of excitement and cultivation, impressing upon us the urgency of sharing our gifts with the world. Yet, it’s delicate, because all it takes is self-doubt and a desire to make everyone happy to quickly snuff out the freedom and inhibition to explore those gifts.
Living the creative life requires us to live boldly and to live without fear of what our readers will think. Without knowing what to expect and accepting uncertainty. When I wrote The Waiting Room, I think it was the most creative I’ve ever been because I didn’t know what was on the other side of my words. I didn’t have any experience with readers. I had very few expectations. I wrote this book for myself as a way to prove that I could be the writer I always wanted to be. It was liberating and empowering.
And, then, I wrote Missing Girl.
This second book changed the game. It was well-received and most people who read it were excited to read its companion novel, 60 Days. Great, right? Suddenly, I panicked. Writing 60 Days wasn’t like writing The Waiting Room. There was expectation. There was that little voice in my head that told me it wasn’t good enough for my readers. That it was trash and that I wasn’t creative or smart enough to pull it off.
And, it’s here, my friends, where living a creative life got hard. It’s where I realized how fragile our creativity is when we invite fear of failure and rejection into our hearts.
Not everyone who reads these words is a writer. Yet, everyone who reads these words is a creative being. Some of you will argue with me that you don’t have a creative bone in your body. And, I’ll argue with you that it’s simply not true. You don’t have to be an artistic person to be creative. Many people’s creativity lies in how they interact with others and the contributions they make at their jobs or with their families. What we all have in common – no matter where our creativity lives – is that we often refuse to live boldly so that we can uncover our creative natures. We live for others instead of living for ourselves.
So, do I write for readers or do I write for myself?
Dearest readers, I do write for you. But, if I’m not writing for my own joy what’s the point? And, my friends, if you’re living life for others, but not for yourselves, what’s the point?
As we move into a new week, close your eyes and think about what you want from your life. Whether you’re a fellow writer who’s struggling with creative block or someone who wants to break free from other’s opinions, I encourage you to live boldly and without reservation. Make decisions that reflect your values and bring you closer to your goals. Creative living is living in the moment and allowing are true selves to shine. When we do this, the results are inarguable incredible!
How will you live creatively this week and beyond?