Think about it: Often we live from our base self, ego speaking to other egos, superficial, small talk, and busy work. We’re hopefully acting civil, moving through our days with tasks both menial and major, but when it comes to our creative work, all of that must fall away. We unzip the outer shell and stand naked and raw before our work.
We strive for personal growth and improvement to hone our craft and make the changes necessary to fully align ourselves with our work. For me, it was making stories a central theme in my life, completing immersing myself in them for my own writing and supporting other authors on their journey. I also create stories for brands, which not only helps support my family, but is an exercise in creativity and commerce. Don’t think for a second that isn’t scary. You put yourself out there, thick skin or not. You hope what you’ve created will resonate and be rewarded.
Only you can truly own the word “hack” or “genius.” You know when you’re “phoning in” a project or truly giving your highest self to the work. I find I am most in the zone when I’m working on fiction projects. I get so lost in the stories, that if I didn’t set a timer, I’m not sure when I’d raise my head and blink out of that world and back into this one.
Holding ourselves back is never warranted in our fiction writing. Our characters are not us. I found that my main character in a mystery I’m writing is so angry that she cusses a lot and her anger surprises me, but it’s not up to me to tone her down. She’s taking me on this journey and I’m there for the ride, telling her story. Until it’s time for revision, I’m not altering what she’s giving me.
It’s just as unfair to muzzle your authentic self. I used to think there was something wrong with me for wanting to write in different genres and enjoying both the business and the artistic side of the creative business. I have wished my brain was wired differently, but that’s who I am. I would not be fulfilled doing just one thing day in and day out. Novelty is also a key to happiness, which is why I’m so thankful new books come out each week to provide a new landscape to play in while I’m rejuvenating my own spirit. It’s why I’m thankful I can wear many hats: author, brand strategist, executive editor, marketer, as well as mom and wife.
When I’ve found I haven’t created enough, I feel like I’m being suffocated. The “golden self” wants to break out of the societal shell and be heard. I’ve often said writing was my therapy, but now I know it’s even more than that: it’s soul food. Eat. Drink. Breathe. Write. Whatever that thing is for you, give yourself persmission to pursue it and express it wholly.
In my upcoming novel, Something New, that theme about our true identity and calling comes through with the analogy of wearing armor, the stage and the spotlight. All secrets eventually come into the light.
What themes are resonating in your life right now? Are you giving yourself permission to live wide open? Where and how can you carve that space for yourself?
Also on the web this week, my post, The Creative Ram: Dealing with Transitions is over on the Girlfriends Book Club blog.
Book News: SOMETHING NEW (mine) and DISTORTION by Lucie Smoker and SOMETHING WICKED (anthology) are going out to reviewers. It’s always scary to see your stories take flight.
I’ve surpassed 21K on my mystery manuscript. I was disheartened to get a hardback in the mail for review yesterday that has a similar story to the one I’m writing. (At least from the title and description.) Of course it’s different, no two stories are exactly alike, but you always want to believe your story is the only one like it in the world. The way you handle that is a) don’t read the other person’s story b) work hard on your character and story promise to make it unique. Adding unexpected twists can help, too.
Got more wonderful advice in from authors to share in the Castle & Quill workshop coming up on 10/28. If you live in OK, AR, TX, KS, it will be worth the drive to come prep your novel before NANOWRIMO begins in November.