photograph by Melissa Placzek
It seems that the subject of creativity has been coming up in conversation a lot lately. Whether it is taking about different forms of art with one of my best friends who is an art teacher, or with another friend who works so many hours she never seems to get a quiet minute to herself let alone acutally relax long enough to start ‘feeling’ creative, and emailing with yet another friend who does daycare full time and is so busy sharing her time with others that she feels drained emotionally most of the time and just feels like putting her feet up at the end of the day rather than get out the pen and paper and start writing.
One thing these people have in common is that they are busy. Busy working day jobs and taking care of houses and babies. Busy working night jobs. Busy, busy, busy. Have you ever found yourself rearranging your medicine cabinet (or whatever) instead of sitting down at your writing desk and digging into the next chapter? Hmmmm? 🙂
Although I don’t work outside my home, I do know what it is to be busy. I think people sometimes get the wrong idea about those of us who work from home. Like we run around for an hour in the morning ‘tidying’ the house and then the rest of the day is just free. That’s simply not true, but I can see how the writer’s life may look like the charmed life to those who aren’t doing it. On days like today, when I’ve been up since around 5:30, I have managed to do a tiny bit of writing before Gracie got up, and have been cleaning since 8:30. So that’s a good solid two hours where I was doing the glamorous dishes, scrubbing my floor, and lugging laundry up a set of stairs that is more like climbing a ladder. Maybe someday I’ll be able to afford a maid, but that day is not today. There are so many things one can do around the house it’s amazing we ever talk ourselves into doing our real work, which is creating.
I’m telling you this because it’s not really about what I’m busy doing…and it’s not about what you’re busy doing either. It’s about what you’re busy not doing. Do you want to write a book and get it published? Do you want to enter your paintings and/or sculptures in local and national art shows? Do you want to dance or sing or act? If you answered yes to any of these questions, and you mean it, there is nothing that’s going to stop you but time management. Well, that and fear.
Yes, I said fear. What are you scared of? I know what I was scared of. I was scared that after spending hours, days, months, and years working on something so diligently and putting my blood, sweat, tears and very soul into it, that when it was finally time to send out proposals and just let it go that nobody was going to love it like I did. So, I guess I was scared of rejection. I remember when the first publishing house I got a positive response from wanted me to send them sample chapters it felt like I was being asked to cut off my arm and send that through the mail. But with my heart in my throat, I sent it. Guess what? Someone else loved it too.
What I didn’t do is let this fear stop me. Rejection letters arrived in my mail box and into the garbage they went…until one day I got the letter that changed my life. I’m not trying to brag. I hate it when people brag. I am trying to encourage you. While it is important to have something worthy of publishing, it’s even more important to not give up. If you refuse to quit, you will succeed.
What does this have to do with creating without fear? I’ll tell you. That’s the last bit I’ll leave you with. This is important…ready?
Do not, under any circumstances, let the business side of art (like “who’s going to publish this?” for instance…) get mixed up with your creative process. If you are sitting there thinking about how much money you’re not making by staying home and writing, or worrying about how your art is going to be perceived by others, it’s not only going to stunt your creativity…it has the potential to make what you are doing seem so BIG that you just give up.
You are the only person who can write your book. You are the only person who can paint your painting. There is nobody else like you. But you already know this. So, what are you waiting for?
Don’t let fear define you.
I have some writing to do.