I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. You may not have noticed, but I did. I took a couple of months off from this blog that I so love, and after thinking it over, I’ve realized that I allowed other people to get in my head and dampen some of my creative enthusiasm. And screw up a bit of my work ethic. Not very professional of me, but I’m always learning.
Also not their fault. Everyone gets the privilege of expressing their opinion, and sometimes, even when people think they’re being helpful (“you should write about this,” “how about we go here – you should include this in the blog,” “You should be taking pictures right now? This is a great blog topic. . .”), my brain goes into six year-old mode. I silently cross my arms and scrunch up my lips and furrow my brow and I think to myself, “This is MY creation. Don’t you dare tell me how to do it!”
Idiocy, right? But I had those suggestions (looking like “shoulds”) in my life and because my perception was that this blog was somehow sub-par in that person’s eyes, I stepped away rather than simply saying, “Thank you for your suggestions.”
It’s sometimes difficult to label yourself as an artist or a creative person. My best pal Sabrina and I talk about this all the time. Somehow it’s okay in today’s society to say that you’re a carpenter or a banker or a lawyer or a store clerk. Those are all valid professions in people’s eyes. But when you say you create stuff (she’s an accomplished visual artist, I’m a writer) for a living, people tend to think that what you mostly do is sit around in coffee houses and have conversations about art. They think there’s no effort involved. They think this is something everyone in the world could do if they just weren’t so busy making a living.
Not that I question the ability of many of you to do exactly what I do every day. It is a job just like everything else. It requires hours of sitting in the chair writing and rewriting and rewriting and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you end up with three paragraphs of acceptable prose.
So when someone comes along and says, “You should write about this,” the hair on the back of my (sometimes rather immature) neck stands up. When it happened this time and when the suggestion came from someone whose opinion seemed to matter, I continued to write the articles and blogs and posts that are required for my clients (have to keep the wolf from the door, right?), but I neglected this blog.
Silly stuff, yes. But even at my age, I learn something new every single day. What I learned in this process is that I have to believe in what I do. I have to accept that the profession God gave to me is to write, write, write, and to encourage anyone else who wants to be creative. I also have to tell as many stories as I possibly can while I’m here. And I get to listen to as many stories as possible.
So here I am, back in this proverbial saddle, telling each and every one of you out there that I hope you know that your biggest job in life is to keep believing in whatever it is that you do. If someone comes along and that someone feels like a negative force in your work, let them go. You can do it gently, but definitely do it.
We have a big job in this world. We all have to make this life as loving and kind and full of beauty as possible, each one of us. Don’t let anyone distract you from that.