The call to create is a deep one, and it can be so scary to share, especially when we haven’t shared it with anyone and maybe have only started acknowledging it to ourselves. One of the first steps to moving forward with that dream is honoring it by owning and claiming it.
Do you have a book that you want to write? Or a creative avenue you want to head down, but you haven’t told anyone except maybe your bestie or your journal about this little (not so little) dream of yours?
This week on the podcast I share my story and fears of reclaiming and owning my identity as a writer and creative. It can be so incredibly scary to share those innermost dreams we’ve got, AND it can be so worth it.
In this solo episode, I talk about:
- How keeping our dreams to ourselves can keep them perfect
- How actually doing the thing might mess it up
- The good that can come from the messy parts of doing the work
- The ugly stage that every project ever goes through
- My own personal terror I felt when I publically claimed my voice and authority as a writer
- An invitation to claim your own creativity and share it
Links Mentioned in the Show
- My very first blog post ever (it’s still “live”) where I declare that I am a writer.
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I know you know that you’re a creator, but here’s a question. Does anyone else know that you have a novel or a memoir burbling inside of you? Does anyone else in your life now know that you maybe spent your childhood painting writing stories or drawing before you decided that you needed to do something useful with your life and you packed away your brushes or canvases or sketchbooks your journals, so that you could adult properly?
[intro] You’re listening to the dear creativity. Let’s My name is Amy Smith. I’m a creative writer for all people, reconnect with and reignite your creativity consistently. And most of all, joyfully create whatever that thing is, that’s calling to you, it’s time to get your creative gifts and ideas out of you and into the world, let’s get started.
The call to create is a deep one, and it can be so scary to share, especially when we haven’t shared it with anyone, since we were kids. And it’s scary to share both our dream of creating or doing whatever we’ll called to create. And it’s also really scary to share the creations themselves like our drawings or photos. So, what do we do? We keep it to ourselves, and we keep that little creative dream right in our imagination where it stays perfect, and whole and complete and lovely. And in our imaginations.
If you’re listening to this podcast. I’m going to bet that you have a creative dream and that you understand that when you take the steps forward to actually create that dream like your novel you’re painting your photograph you’re drawing, whatever it is. It’s entirely possible that the perfection that you’ve created in your brain of whatever this thing is, will get all screwed up and messed up in the actual doing of the thing and people will judge you, and you’ll judge you, and it just will be an ugly mess, so the safest thing to do is just keep it all in your brain. I’ve so been there.
And it’s hard because creating can be messy and I don’t just mean the actual mess of creating the thing in the middle of a quilt, of sewing a big quilt. I do it at my kitchen table and so we don’t eat, we like, Okay, get your dinner and go sit on the couch because we’re not going to the table because it’s now my quilt studio. Like that’s just the way it is, so it can be messy. In that sense, but I’m also talking about the mess of actually creating like in our hearts and in our minds, right.
It’s like kind of a mess we make: the steps forward, the steps back, as we figure it out. What do we want to do? When we try something and we think. ‘this will work.’ but it doesn’t work. So then we have to back up and we try something else/ We have to unsew. We have to paint over it. We have to delete and revise whatever. It’s like that messy part, the actual thing.
Creating it is not like a perfect linear line if I go and create the thing and I’m moving from point A to point B. There are spirals along the way and we end up, never quite going on the path that we think we are going to take. Sometimes we create comes out like perfect on the very first try. The thing is whole and it’s round and it’s right like the perfect little pebble, but most often, at least for me, that’s not the case. Pretty much everything I create tends to go through what I call an ugly stage where I hate it I think that this was the worst thing I’ve ever decided to do this was a terrible idea and I started it. I’m just going to quit and go back to the beginning and start something new because that’s way more fun than this ugly yucky mess that I’ve got on my hands right now.
But, what I’ve learned is that everything I create tends to go through an ugly stage. Sometimes they come out of the ugly stage into a final product that I can do something with and sometimes they don’t and they stay in the ugly stage, and that’s okay too, have those other projects.
I really learned a lot on especially like in clean I have a have a couple super ugly clothes but I learned a ton in terms of value and color a pattern and, and how things work together and design. And I have tens of thousands of words of cut scenes and chapters I’ve written, thinking they’d work, but they didn’t. They had to be pulled out. I have whole novels of cut words. That’s fine. Those are the learning projects. The ugly stage is where the learning happens.
And I think that’s one of the biggest fears of starting a project, we say, “What if it doesn’t work? What if I fail?” You know all those things I talked a lot about that in Episode Four. Before that, before we get into all the mindset stuff that stops us, the very first step in creating whatever it is that you wantto create, is not starting the thing, it actually happens before that. It’shonoring the calling that you’ve got, the idea that pops into your head, and saying, “oh, that’s the thing I want to create.” Honoring that, acknowledging it, and not keeping it our little secret. secret word is nice and perfect. Right?
We hold so tight, and in holding on to it can kind of can choke it, and we don’t give the idea wings so it can fly, and possibly crash and burn, but, possibly just soar and fly and do amazing things. It’s terrifying. If we share, we’re in danger of failing, of creating our own little personal Frankenstein. I get it!
So when I was a kid I wanted to be a writer and my dad brought home, I still have it, this antique typewriter that you know had the keys that came up and hit the thing. And I would type on that thing on my desk. And I was going to be a writer. I went to college, and I majored in English. An, I think my junior year, I took a creative writing class. And we had to have our stories workshopped. And I wrote a story. I still remember exactly what it was about. Then, it was my turn. That’s all. I had to take copies in and then it was my turn for the workshop. And I don’t remember anything about the workshop other than the feeling of dread and humiliation. I don’t ever I don’t think anybody said anything really cruel but they just questioned me about it, and I didn’t have the confidence to take their suggestions and feedback for what they worked, suggestions and feedback. I took it personally, like, Oh my gosh, my story’s not perfect. Therefore, I can’t write, therefore I better not write. And I didn’t. I listened to what these are 20 year olds had to say, and I stopped writing completely.
And it kind of breaks my heart. I want to go back to that 20 year old me and say, “Keep going. It’s okay, you’re just learning,” but I couldn’t, so I didn’t, I didn’t have the confidence to do take their feedback so I stopped writing. Then in late 2010 early 2011, I had a dream, like, literally in bed at night. I hada dream of a the story, to write a novel. And I remember we were in mom’s house in the guest room. And I, it was kind of in those dreams you sort of go in and out over throughout the night, and then in the morning I lay there kind of in that theta state, sort of half awake half asleep, and the whole story came to me. I remember this vividly and I kept my eyes closed and it was just this whole story is coming.
I remember my husband got up. He took a shower. I have no idea where this idea came from. And my husband came back in the bedroom and the first thing I said was, “I’m going to write a novel, and I have the whole story, and it came to me.”
He said, “Great. Good. Okay.” He knew, he knows me, when I decide I’m going to do something, I do it. So, that was the first thing told him like I’m gonna write. And so then I decided, okay if I’m going to write, if I’m going to do this thing, I needed to actually share my words.
And that spring, of that year in 2011, I was teaching full-time, English and psychology and speech at the high school, and I had a student teacher which means she would come in and teach. She was in my classroom and I couldn’t leave the school building but I couldn’t be in the classroom. I was like, Okay, I’ll sit in the computer lab and start a blog. So I went to WordPress.com and I started a blog, and my very first post is on my amyisaman.com blog right now. I’m going to put it in the show notes. I ended that post by writing, “I am writing. I am a writer,” and I owned it and I claimed it. And it was terrifying.
I wrote this post and then I had to hit publish on WordPress, and I was so scared to hit publish, like I’m feeling nauseous in my body right now even remembering this. I was in the computer lab at the high school and I remember getting up and like pacing the computer lab by myself praying that another teacher didn’t come in with their class, because I crying tears.
On the one hand I was saying, “Oh, for God’s sake, just hit Publish. What are you so afraid of? OMG, I can’t. Somebody might read it. And what if nobody reads it?” l had put myself in this sort of lose-lose situation. I was terrified of publicly sharing my dream.
And that’s the first step of creating is owning and sharing your dream before you get started. You have to own it. You have to say, I am a, _______________________whatever. But if I have dream of being a writer, if I’m going to pick this dream back up, that I had as a little girl, that I had a college student, that I laid down, if I’m going to pick this dream back up of being a writer, I better get used to people reading my words. That’s all. And I hit publish. And I was so scared.
Now, after nine years of regular blogging, sharing, publishing, publishing books, all kinds of stuff, I’m totally over that fear. I’m a writer. That’s what I am. And it doesn’t matter if no one reads my words. Or if thousands read my words. At this point, not writing is harder than writing even if my writing still goes through ugly stages, which I know it will because it’s part of the process.
So I am a writer, it’s a huge piece of what I do. I’ve owned it and over the last decade I’ve learned to live it. And it’s for sure been a journey. And over the last decade, I’ve learned to just go with the ideas that come to me.
I’m currently working on a novel that’s another adventure novel, that has the main character, from my second novel, The Tarot Cipher. And when that’s done, I might be writing a non-fiction piece. I’m not sure. It’s sort of coming to me in bits and pieces and I’ve been capturing those in my journal and we’ll see where that goes.
And also have a sequel to my first novel, The Overlander’s Daughter, that I want to write, that’s all pretty much plotted, and I can share that now. I can share those dreams, and I can say them out loud. I can put them on a podcast, without having a complete and total meltdown, or panic attack that if I say that, I’ll be judged. I can say that knowing that those plans that I just shared with you might change. Other ideas might come to me, and that’s okay too.
Like it’s okay, nothing is carved in stone like with the 10 commandments.
So, today, I invite you to honor your creative calling. If you are one of those who kind of has it held tight and are keeping it secret,. I know they’re out there because I am working with clients now and this is a thing to keep it secret.
So I invite you to honor your creative calling. Say it. Share it. You don’t have to start a blog and announce to the world that you are now doing your thing. Start small.
Say it quietly to yourself. I am a writer, a dancer, painter, photographer, then say it a little louder. And then maybe share it with somebody. Share it with a loved one, somebody safe, your beloved, a best friend, a child. Play with it.Feel how it feels in your body to own it and say it out loud. Does it feel exciting?Does it feel terrifying? Do you feel nauseous? Explore that and I invite you to take it to the page do a few do some writing feel that in your body. Explore that. Why is it so scary to put yourself out there?
But first, honor your calling. Own it. Say it. To me creativity is a connection to your soul. That’s honestly how deep I think this is. When you are called to do something, it’s who you are, it’s a piece of why you’re here. Honoring it beginning to do the thing, starts with honoring it and just acknowledging it. And so I invite you to do that.
If you’d like to start sharing it publicly, I invite you to you can head over to Amy Isaman.com/podcast /episode6, and you can share it in the comments. I am a, whatever. If you’re feeling super brave you could put it on Instagram and a hashtag #dearcreativity, or even put it on Facebook and tag me in your post. I would love to see it but again if doing it that publicly is scary. Don’t. Share it smaller, but share it and own it.
Have a great weekend I will see you next week’s episode.