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writer

Life Work

Writing Like Nobody’s Reading

Writing Like Nobody's Reading

I’ve been debating this decision for months now. To NaNoWriMo or nah. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, NaNoWriMo is where writers around the world commit to writing 50k words for their novel/book/series/etc in the month of November. If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past couple months, you know I’ve been in a space when it comes to my writing and creativity and I’ve finally decided that NaNoWriMo is something I need to do. And I’m excited. In preparation for the month ahead, I felt the need to empty my current thoughts and fears on writing, being a writer, and why I must keep. going.

***

Deep down, I’m nervous that I might not be able to do it. That I have so many words inside me to say but I’ll never be able to straighten them up, pull them together, and make them presentable for consumption. That, as hard as I try to sort through the mazes of my mind, the chambers of my heart, and the depths of my soul, I’ll find too much and not enough at the same time.

I’m nervous that it isn’t pretty. That the edges aren’t clean and neat. And the corners are filled with too much. That I’ll never be the “carefree black girl” aesthetic and there is no filter to blur the mess. That, as hard as I try to make it look nice, it’s wild and it’s rough. And because of it, the message won’t be received.

I’m nervous that it isn’t profound. That it’s all been said and done before. That these grand epiphanies aren’t so grand after all. That as deep as I feel it’s still all very surface level, cliche even, and the only thing different about my thoughts…is the vessel in which they come through. Me.

I’m nervous that it doesn’t make sense. That I’m not eloquent or poetic enough to deliver the thoughts stirring in my body. That my creativity doesn’t expand past stringing together a few well placed sentences for a blog post or a tweet. That a cohesive piece of work, or presence, or dare I say it brand {shudders} is beyond my reach.

I’m nervous that I’ll never find my place. That there’s no space for the girl who is bold, love, and light and quiet, anxious, and dark depending on the day…or the hour. The one’s whose words aren’t accompanied by a soft voice and a warm smile. That my hard outer shell and resting bitch face aren’t just my body but who I am. A cancerian to my core.

I’m nervous that as hard as I try to remember for who and why I do this, I won’t be able to overcome the feelings of doubt. That I won’t understand the difference between their validity (allowing myself to feel) and their truth (convincing myself they aren’t facts).

Because the truth of the matter is, I just want to be heard. And accepted and recognized. Transparency. But it is these desires that live in the same place as my fears so in order to be fearless…I must release them both.

“They say” dance like nobody’s watching, but I’ve never been a dancer. So instead, I’ll write like nobody’s reading. In November…and beyond.

Life Work

Why I Write

Why I Write
In Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert warns about creating to help other people. To be exact she writes:

You are not required to save the world with your creativity…I would prefer that you made your art in order to save yourself, or to relieve yourself of some great psychic burden, rather than to save or relieve us. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

She goes on to give multiple reasonings behind this warning citing the misguided notion of living for others, the joy in creating to entertain yourself, and most notably pointing out that she wrote a travel memoir in order to make sense of her own journey. And we all know how that turned out.

For some time now, I’d say at the very least the past year or so, I’ve felt like I’ve been running around in circles when it comes to figuring out what to do with all these things I have inside. The thoughts, the ideas, the stories waiting to be told. And I don’t think I’ve realized (as clear as I do now) that the trying to connect the dots, the trying to make meaning of what I’m doing, and figuring out what I can do to ensure it can help someone, is the very thing that has been holding me back.

Your art not only doesn’t have to be original, in other words; it also doesn’t have to be important. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m certain I actually discovered this before but, I’m not sure it ever took root in my mind. The reality that I absolutely can (and should) blog, and journal, and create, and write that book simply because it’s something I want to do.
Why I write
I sat down today to write a blog post that I wanted to be helpful. I thought to myself: I’ve been writing a lot about my personal life and lessons I’ve been learning so let me write something that can be really informational and helpful to others. But the reality is (I already do that in my freelance work) BUT more importantly…I write to save, understand, make sense of, document, and discover myself. And:

If what I’ve written here ends up help you, that’s great, and I will be glad. That would be a wonderful side effect. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

So tell me, why do you create?

Life Work

On Tending Your Own Garden

Tending your garden
Yesterday, I posted a piece of work that was essentially me brimming to the edge with creative revelation, energy, and needing to express all that was bubbling within before I burst. It was random, as those kind of posts usually are, but unlike my last stream of thoughts, I provided no explanation as I felt my words alone would suffice. Today though, as my mind has settled and I have come to terms with my thoughts and feelings, I’d like to dig deeper.

***

Earlier this week, I had lunch and a cup of coffee with my best friend. Our goal was to get outside our normal work environments–my home and her office–to discuss creative life, building businesses, and chasing dreams. Instead, it was a therapy session of sorts that was full of epiphanies and  revelations about myself, the path I thought I wanted to explore, and a truth I’d been afraid to admit to myself. Both my conversation with her and an even more “spirited” dialogue with my husband earlier that morning, led to me to uncover some feelings that I couldn’t quite explain on my own. They were stirring, just below the surface, under the facade of feeling good and appearing outwardly successful. Behind the curtain of Instagram bios and professional titles. There was a restless anxiety that I never let myself explore for reasons I’ll explain in a moment. 

What I discovered that day was that I was feeling resentful. And as much as I want to add the “for lack of a better word” here, the truth is what it is. 

So how did I get here? Well, if you get my newsletter you have a little insight into this current season of my life (for context, you can see it here and subscribe if you’d like). I’ve been approaching creative burnout for some time, whether I wanted to admit that to myself or not. And not only was I feeling the physical and emotional effects of burnout, but I also wasn’t seeing any fruits from this labor that was causing me so much stress. 

I had been hustling backwards and grinding hard for everyone except for myself.

It took me some time to actually verbalize that. My nature as a true nurturer has always caused me to place the needs of others before my own. And somewhere, deep down, I had feelings of guilt or selfishness at the thought of focusing on me, myself, and the creations I wanted to bring into this world.

I had begun to feel resentful, and it was no ones fault but my own.

Crops was me expressing those feelings. And while I will say, I am not proud of feeling them, I am glad they were revealed to me. I’ve been able to peel back the layers in understanding the deeper issues that created them. This false belief that it’s…not okay to use the gifts God’s blessed me with for myself. It’s still a battle in my mind. There are parts of me that want to apologize. Parts of me that don’t want to come across as selfish. I blame it on the nurturer in me but I know there are things imbedded deeper still. But there’s a greater part of me that assures me this is right and that’s the voice I choose to listen too. It’s time to tend my own garden. ~xoxo


Every Sunday I share a letter from my journey with those on my email list. WELL SPENT is part things I’ve come across that inspire me, things I think might resonate with you, and a lesson from the journey.