So this particular post, I am planning to write and see what comes out. I have a general idea of the things I want to say, but overall this is my heart essay, messy and unperfected. I have been reading and chewing on a lot of information related to what it means to be a creative that successfully markets oneself. One particular interview was especially inspiring on the Tim Ferris show podcast where he interviews designer Debbie Millman, and so much resonated. I think for many creatives, putting art out is terrifying on a lot of levels. You are putting your rawest version of your self out there, and then having to actually market oneself… forget it. Game over. And that has been the story for me for a long time. I have just sat back in my life size chair and watched the years meander by.
Well, maybe not meander…
I did get married, travelled, gave birth to two sons and set up a business where I teach the very things I love. I conquered my fear of being a bad runner and successfully ran 2 half marathons, I climbed the hills of foreign landscapes, I wrote like, so so many songs, I started blogging this year (with no real expectations except to start doing something I was passionate about), and now I find myself face to face with myself. I always circle back here - to the deep. To the place I am sure I was formed out of the earth from, where all things that are good and memorable and intrinsic to purpose and destiny find themselves. Its is a sort of siren song that pulls me in, and at times has been daunting. Daunting because it never silences, the low tones always casting a shadow over all my activity (or lack thereof). And so, I have set out to define this thing. To really pursue instead of being pursued.
On the way home from a brief road trip with some friends, i recorded our conversation as we mulled through thoughts and ideas. It could have been a podcast because there were so many gems. And what I came out with were some very basic questions and concepts.
What shuts me down as a creative? What do I really want (and in detail)? What is the very worst that could happen? Where have I felt there were boundaries for me as an artist? What self talk have I allowed to keep me from moving forward?
Sit down and journal that for a hot minute and you will be surprised what comes out.
Just giving shape to those thoughts in statment made me realize what the paper tigers were, even how silly some were - laughing out loud as I wrote them out. And the thing is that, for most of these things, even if the worst happened, I would actually walk away with some sort of gain.
For instance, total transparency, I get this thing I have coined a phrase for, “creative paranoia”. Defined as ‘somehow I am not as good with my art as I would hope or believe myself to be andsecretly everyone knows it. Okay this is just paranoia. But honestly, this thought alone has kept me from putting out content. I read a great quote that, summed up, said “even someone at the top of their game who has seemingly beaten all the odds still has the daily struggle”. And another, “ I have only met 2 people in all my years who did not question their creativity at some level, and they were both in their 80’s”. These are paraphrased, but you get the idea. I just took deep breaths of relief that not everyone views themselves in perfect form all the time. That we can somehow be confident in our art and gifting and still feel these things.
Another one: I always believed I had to achieve some accolade in order for my music or writing to be noticeable. Yes, partly that could be true years down the line, but not at the outset of a business. Its a bit of a catch 22 if you ask me, and ensures total paralysis.
The list goes on. One after the other stripped of power, and I am feeling movement under my feet. I am believing that every step counts, and momentum is only created in the act of succesion (no matter how small). I am amazed at what can be achieved by those who are relentless in their pusuit. Those who are reasonable but who count their dreams as bigger realities than the alternative. And truly, those who know what that dream is. What does it look like? The more detail, the better.
Relentless pursuit. Hang up detailed outlines, look at it everyday. Make weekly, monthly, yearly, even decade long plans. Plans surely change, and those successful can mold to the process, but we must start somewhere. Its all process anyway.
This has been wildly encouraging and I am sure as I continue I might have more to offer on these things, but for now may this be an encouragement to you. If you are like me at all, you have found yourself in doubt at times, questioning and even not completely understanding the outline. You’ve probably felt all kinds of crazy and just wanted to be done with it all. But if it is a thing that returns in the quiet moments, compelling you into the unknown, then surely you are not alone, and surely it must be pursued. We may see a different picture at the end, and perhaps not all we set out to do will come to pass, but surely we will be surprised by what we do achieve. And then, when we are 80 and have earned the right, perhaps we can sit unhindered by the pullings of our youth. We would impart to our younger, more vulnerable selves that though the path be marked with many unknowns, the journey is sure to be worthy.