There is a thread. It runs from creative to creative, from artist to artist, writer to writer. An invisible web that connects us all regardless of location, artistic pursuit, language, creed, age, political viewpoint, or nationality. When we encounter another creative, this invisible web forges a bond between us. It’s a shared paradigm, a common history, the entry code to the secret society of artists. It’s subtle but powerful, and it’s trapping us all.
Just last night in my browsing through Instagram, I stumbled upon two posts by two incredible writers that echoed the same sentiment that I’ve felt for my entire life. A sentiment I’ve heard repeated by countless successful writers, photographers, and artists/creatives over the years. A sentiment that outlines the thread that connects us all. What is it? It’s that voice inside that manufactures an overwhelming fear of vulnerability like a hook-nosed witch working tirelessly over her cauldron.
It’s the voice that says, “Your efforts aren’t worth it, your skills are lacking, your approach is all wrong, you’re crazy for leaving the safety and security of the status quo, and you’ll never actually succeed at pursuing the dream that’s gripping your heart and driving you to create. As a matter of fact, you’re actually completely delusional, you lunatic. There’s something wrong with you. Your best course of action is to freak out, get scared, stay up all night worrying, second guess everything you ever create. Just quit, quit, QUIT!"
What is heartbreaking is the evidence of this voice in almost every creative around me. Unaddressed, it leads to depression as the dreams and passion inside begin to dwindle like a campfire just before sunrise. If we’re lucky, that’s as far as it goes - the death of a dream and its slow decay. If we aren’t lucky, and most of us aren’t, it goes much further than this. The dream dies and leaves us empty but longing for something more. We’ve tasted the fire of creation, we’ve felt the thrill of our artistic expression bursts forth like the sun through storm clouds and we just can’t forget it! That emptiness and despair gather themselves like something dark and evil and begin spearing our insides with pangs of bitterness and jealousy. Then we can no longer celebrate others successes. Instead, we pass it off with an, “I could do that if I wanted to,” and move on all the while crying and raging inside because we feel we’ve missed out on our chance. It’s an epidemic and it’s real, I’ve been there and approach the brink from time to time still…
But, there’s hope! We don’t have to live with bitterness over missed opportunities or quake in the shadow of vulnerability. We can break through the walls of the box we’ve constructed, gather the pieces of those dreams that we’ve harbored deep inside and begin to massage them back to life. Fellow artists and creatives, this is my request, take that leap!
Take the Leap
These days it’s crazy difficult to put yourself out there. The amount of irony in the universe is reaching dangerously elevated levels. We live in a world where people share every single aspect of their lives on social media. We are inundated with images of food, clothing, selfie after selfie, and all other manner of ridiculousness that makes up the mundane daily lives of hundreds of millions of people. Still, we hesitate to share our art. Why?
Well, part of the issue is that those hundreds of millions of people aren’t truly sharing themselves. They are sharing a minuscule percentage of their essence. Not only that, but that tiny little bit of themselves that they share is most likely fraudulent. It’s staged to look “just so” or it has some level of meddling going on where we aren’t truly seeing reality. They aren’t being authentic or vulnerable so it’s actually safer than it appears…
The very thing that makes it easy for a social media icon to share is the thing that makes it so difficult for us to share our creative pursuits - vulnerability. In order to truly create something worthwhile, we pour ourselves into it. Whether it’s a song, a book, a blog post, an essay, a painting, or a poem, our efforts to bring our art to life inevitably leave behind a part of us in every creation. Sometimes, we might not even recognize the depth of sacrifice we invest into our art until it’s time to share it. Only then do we begin to feel nervous and vulnerable. Suddenly, we are scared to let our creation out into the world because we can’t ignore the risk that entails. People might not like it or even worse, they might ignore it! We are sharing our most intimate, personal thoughts and emotions in the most authentic manner possible, in our art. There’s nothing wrong with this hesitation, it’s a hurdle that all artists must overcome. Once you take that leap and clear that hurdle, never stop! The world needs your creativity to be unleashed! You have stories, insights, creativity, and knowledge that only you hold. I and the rest of the creatives around the world beg of you, KEEP CREATING!!
This process of embracing creativity involves changing the way that I live my life. As I get further along in my journey, I realize the importance of being authentic, embracing the creativity I have, and allowing it to shine. For so long, I’ve hidden my creative interests and thoughts in a dusty little box in the attic of my mind. I’ve kept it from my friends and my family because it’s scary to let it out. I worry what others will think. I don’t want to be labeled as a dork or goofy. The list goes on forever...the voices in my head screaming at me to quit are tireless. However, I’ve made the decision that my creativity is worth the risk. The words I write, the photos I take, the videos I make, the letters and artwork I sketch, and the deep conversations I have are worth the risks associated with "life outside the box." I’ve been blessed beyond measure with creativity and the passion to pursue creativity. I would be out of my mind to continue to allow the pressures of this life, of my environment, and of my own fear of vulnerability to keep me from doing so. It’s a movement that I’m starting in my own life and a mantra that I’m sharing with every creative that I know - be Unashamedly Creative. Embrace your creativity, love it, live it, and let it shine like the sun every chance you get. I’m doing this personally, and I encourage you to do the same. As you do, I’d love to connect with you, hear your story, and enjoy your art!
Join the movement to be Unashamedly Creative! If this has resonated with you, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, leave me some comments and let’s connect!