The One Thing Artists Need to Commit To
Every time I sit at this keyboard to write, there is a moment where I am caught between two worlds: do I trust that my voice matters to someone out there or should I just stay silent (because my voice can’t possibly matter in all the noise out there)?
This is a moment that many of us pivot on every time we actually get to the “starting point” in our creative work. That pivotal moment where a decision has to be made, again, fresh, every time, as if we’ve never been here before. (Is that because in reality, we never have been at this point in time, right here and now, faced with these blanks pages, new paints, new lines, new notes, new images?)
Every time we come back to our creative expression we have to decide. Does our voice matter or doesn’t it? What is the reason to express ourselves? There are those abundant times when so much is moving through me that expression is an overflow — it simply must be poured out. More often there are the quieter, drier times when my mind says: you’ve said everything there is to say. You’re just repeating yourself. (With 109 blog posts, I probably am)…
But, even repetition seems necessary. More than necessary. More like we have specific themes that we keep diving back into because we feel compelled by something to explore them again and again. What keeps that from being boring is that fact that my themes are mine and yours are yours. Somehow through us being One Consciousness, we find the people and themes that speak to us in the ways we need. (And that’s usually the point of logic I use to convince myself to write.)
So, does it matter?
When I think of my life, there have been (and continue to be) very specific artists who have unknowingly shown up in my life at very precise moments. Not only that, but there are specific people in the business of art who have no clue that their executive decisions to keep saying YES to what called to them have repeatedly impacted my life and creative journey. For example, an executive’s decision to sign a particular band and produce a particular song that became my saving grace during a dark period, who eight years later, turned out to be an executive behind another artist I interviewed — (blessings go round). Or an author who published her journals and in doing so, gave voice to my feelings when I was too young to trust my own voice. She said what I couldn’t and in that, gave a certain companionship to my journey. I could go on and on… but the point is, NONE of these artists have any clue that their work has impacted me the way it has. That a song, a line in a book, a phrase in a poem, a scene in a film — has shown up at just the right time, met just the right need, been there, and inspired, turned my thoughts, and guided my choices along the way.
None of them.
So what does that mean for you and me? When we come to that starting point and hesitate between two worlds?
Everything we create finds its way. IF we say YES to bringing it forth into this world.
What do we need to commit to? Not “being an artist.” Not “this many units of work within this period of time.” Not “getting published.” Not “being famous or making a living at this.” No. Those things just aren’t strong enough to get us from one world to another in that pivotal moment.
Expression. That’s what we can commit to. That’s the only thing that really needs us.
That commitment will get us from one world to another.