Creative work is work. It takes time and effort, and those of us who want to devote as much time to it as possible still have to eat and house ourselves, which means that, as much as we might also work for love and fun, we do need to make money. Photo: Death to Stock
There’s a thing you want to make. It’s beautiful. It touches people. It makes life hurt a little less. It illuminates something, both for you and for your audience. It makes the world a smidgen better. From the deepest place inside you, this thing calls out for you to make it. Yet. Photo by vladsogodel, Adobe Stock
On a September day, a flamenco dance teacher arrived for a month-long storytelling workshop, a pilot for Ron Bunzl’s project CIRC/US, only to find her own former dance instructor, the one whose classes she’d left with abiding body shame and corrosive self-doubt, was a fellow participant.
I’ve lost a lot of writing contests lately. Well, I didn’t lose them, exactly, but I definitely didn’t win anything. I’ve gotten a lot of plain old standard-issue rejection letters, too. It’s been a great opportunity to reflect on how my ego slithers into my creative work. Ultimately, the ego causes all my creative blocks, and probably yours too. It’s what tells me I’m a worthless human if people don’t like my writing, which is the thought underlying every other thought that stops me, thoughts like, But I can’t write until I’ve checked my email. It’s what tells me to write what’ll make me look good instead of what’s true. It’s what stops me from sharing what I’ve written. It pulls my attention to the reception of my work, and away from my real reasons for creating: to touch people, to make them laugh, to show them they’re not alone, to take them for awhile off their mental hamster wheels (we’ve all got them), and to give what I can. Still, I’ve made stuff and shared it. Luckily, we don’t have to lose …
“The point of doing creative work, the highest point is to do that which you love, in service of others. This is where the true joy and bliss comes from.”