Affirming Your Creativity
Every morning on my 40-minute commute to work, I have plenty of time to listen to music, pray- with eyes open of course, play audio-books or podcasts, and talk to people I love. Last Friday I really needed some specific encouragement and fortunately I tuned into just the podcast for me that day, ‘Write Now’.
The topic was affirmations and I expected it to be another general pep talk, I almost changed the station, but something in Sarah’s voice caught me off guard, it was her pure sincerity. I understand the power of words. As a writer I have deep respect for their power to breath life into old bones, create other worlds to explore with our imagination, or even crush spirits. Words carry power.
But Sara’s focus was the words I use about myself as a writer, which equates to the words I use about myself, period. I feel stuck right now. I’m stuck because although I am working my day job which I am grateful for, and exploring our new and beautiful home base, there is that part of me that has been slowly starving through creative meal skipping due to lack of time. But is lack of time truly at fault?
This podcast’s topic focused on not believing in myself as a writer. But this can apply to anything. Is there something within your heart of hearts that you have put on the shelf for years while you were busy living your life? Possibly for your kids to get older. Then once you retire? Does it whisper your name when the night is especailly still and quiet, disturbing you a bit?
A creative voice within you will always look for a glimmer of hope toward its expression, but we learn too well to smother those sparks of hope out of fear. Fear that we aren’t “qualified” to pursue this calling or endeavor because we lack education or experience, or age disqualifies us. We can blame limited finances, lack of pedigree, too few connections, you name it. We find reasons to tell ourselves we aren’t worthy to go forth.
What is it that you crave to create or produce outside of your “job”? Where is the place where your passion, purpose, talent, and identity intersect? If we don’t explore this continuous whisper, we starve ourselves and find ways to quiet those whispers with either busyness, routines, self-denial, and sometimes self-medication. Creative people must create, it’s how we are wired, and when we ignore this inner stirring, a haunting begins.
Let me share some affirmations with you that I hope will help you take some action and discover where that leads.
You are worthy. Being interested, curious and passionate about something and dedicating yourself to pursue it, honor it, and refine it, makes you worthy of the endeavor.
No one else’s success will prevent you from creating your own dreams. There is infinite space for creative work in this universe.
Every creation is significant. Creating something, as small as it might seem, is significant. It is learning in real time. It is an action step building momentum and energy. If it makes you feel connected to yourself, if it brings you pleasure and fulfillment, that is significant.
Be brave and explore. It takes some guts to get over ourselves and start something new. But it is also exhilarating!
Forget other people’s expectations of you and honor your life. You won’t regret living with integrity. You will regret living for someone else’s expectations of you. My one exception is living life to honor God-which will honor you as well.
Finally, this is not an affirmation but a charge: Take Action.
Small steps count, so if you have always wanted to be an artist, get some supplies and start exploring. Watch You Tube videos for instruction from anywhere. Use whatever is cheap and handy, don’t let the cost of supplies hinder you.
Find a community. A community of people who also share your passion can be supportive and enjoyable. It will stretch you. It will also make your pursuits become more tangible to you.
Put yourself “out there”. I agree that the phrase is tired and overused but what I mean is that we “gain traction” by creating and sharing our work. One piece builds on the last and so on and so on. We need to share our work with the world, which could mean using social media or a creating blog, being a vendor at a farmer’s market, hosting a trunk show in a local store, or playing music in a coffee shop. Whatever the course, get your work seen and heard. It will be frightening because we face some judgment once we reveal ourselves; we become vulnerable. But remember, we pursue this desire to create something because we need to, so outside validation can’t matter as much as our own satisfaction in Doing Our Thing.
What will that look like for you? For me it’s sharing a new post this week, this one in fact. I am entering a short story contest next month for the first time. I am also revising my memoir a chapter at a time, a longer project. I will look for a local writer’s group, or maybe begin one focused on memoirs, and I will search for a local class in creative writing. Hopefully this year I will attend a writer’s conference to meet publishers, editors, a new writer’s community and gain insights and inspiration.
Create your own action plan beginning with a daily or weekly goal. Then look a little further out for a larger action step, giving yourself a deadline. I created my goal of completing my first round of revisions for my chapters by May 17th, but I’m behind my deadline, so I am re-adjusting. Add new action steps as you move forward to keep exploring and branching out.
Just remember, you are Worthy to pursue the thing that makes you come alive and feel most connected to yourself. Explore, pursue, and create. Enjoy the journey!