This week I did something that scared the crap out of me.
I signed up for Joyce Carol Oates’ masterclass on writing short stories.
I’d been resisting it for months, despite it being an easy stepping stone to one of my dreams: writing novels.
I’m very comfortable writing non-fiction, but fiction has always seemed out of reach for me. Something to dream about but never make happen.
Because it feels safer to play small.
To not reach beyond my limits.
To keep the wisps of thought inside my head so they never have to meet the harsh reality of putting words to the page, ruthless edits, stagnation of the process, frustration, and all of the other baggage that comes with bringing your creativity into the world.
Birthing ideas into actuality is a painful process.
Nothing about it is easy.
But the question is: are you satisfied leaving that idea floating around in your mind?
Or is that cost too great to your soul?
Is bringing that idea into reality, despite the struggle and difficulty, the medicine you actually need?
To see a part of yourself blossom in the world beyond what you ever would have imagined?
THAT is the gift of creativity.
A deeper unfolding and understanding of yourself, and as a result, others and the rest of the world around you.
Fear and perfectionism can keep us locked away from crucial pieces of ourselves for decades.
We can blame it on the difficulty of the process or the worry about what others might think, but truthfully we are afraid of ourselves.
Of our own capabilities.
Of our own authenticity shining through us so brightly that it can’t be denied or squelched.
Creativity makes us vulnerable.
We bring our hearts into the world.
And the world desperately needs more hearts connecting with each other.
I’m growing tired of keeping my heart small and protected.
I’m still learning how to have a conversation with my fear, but I am listening to it more consistently instead of running away.
My resistance to a project or conversation is now an interesting point to contemplate rather than a DANGER! LEAVE NOW AT ALL COSTS announcement.
I’m not sure what will come of my short story class. I hope it will lead to novel writing as I continue to move deeper into my heart and listen to what it needs.
How are you playing small in your life? What are you leaving in idea land or someday land? What would you love to do with your time and energy?
That’s the beautiful thing about accessing your creativity; whatever you put in, you get back 10x.
PS - Everyone on this planet is an inherently gifted creative person. You don’t have to be special or an artist to produce art.
I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. The way you feel. - Helen Bonham Carter