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.
Posted on Sunday, in Inspiration, Internal, Motivation. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
Expression… and, the conviction that what we have to say we Have To, We Must Say. It is our personal truths and our experiences of them that require expression. This is how it seems through my vantage in the process.
We can come up with endless excuses not to start, start again, start anew. Every one of us has important words, thoughts, feelings, experiences countless in variety, while as Britta said, those which are shared will impact others in ways they cannot if not given the expression that they call for.
Writing for money or fame will not likely yield y(our) best work. It seems to me that when we write from our hearts, guts, souls, that is when we’ll most likely touch similarly deep parts of other readers. This is what moves us. Some may get caught up in a “romance”/(or) sex fantasy novel, and buy such. But to what end? Some people find a genre that they feel able to write well enough to gain a following with, and probably do just stick with that as a means of bringing in money. In the case of sex novels thinnly disguised with the genre title, “Romance,” some will doubtlessly be writing not only for money but for their own addiction to sexual fantasizing. As a former Addictions & Trauma Recovery Counselor, it’s difficult for me to avoid seeing that as a high probability in numerous cases…
However, the topic seems more to do with writing itself than what we want to get from it, passed the ability to express vital parts of who we are, what stories our lives themselves are made and meant to tell.
Many things may motivate us, but what is it in our hearts, souls, guts, minds, bodies, spirits that yearns for expression? Maybe I’m reading into the above Blog Post. Yet, this is a question that I feel has been raised by it. Then, what’s already essentially beenn asked: What do we need to get us (back) in the writing zone?
For myself, it must be something that my spirit begins to sparkle with from inside about what’s outside and/or the reverse. As the sparks from flint lighting tinder aflame, I listen to my soul and the Master Creator which I regard as Pure Love, Infinite and Infinitely Powerful living in us each and all, for direction, guidance. Or, when more comfortable with the process, as in the past, I’d just write. And, when I got “stuck” seemingly unable to continue, I’d ask myself, including that spirit and Power within, “What is it that you can’t say?” Almost without fail, yet still with gleeful surprise from me, my subconscious and inner spirit of Truth and Love would give me the answers to that question, and I’d be writing again.
What is it within the heart of who you are that you need to say, in order to feel more free and whole yourself? This is a question that I must ask myself, as one who’s been contemplating whether or not I ought to, or need to write again: The answer seems to be a resounding, “Yes!” That is hard to ignore… Oh, who am I trying to fool? I can’t ignore it!
In my case, I may begin to journal, asking and trying to answer, “What is it that you’ve been so afraid to say?” For, I have put off writing to avoid certain emotions and events that I haven’t wanted to face.
Giving myself permission to answer such questions will, I predict, free me up to write about those topics, some that are related, and that which may seem entirely unrelated. Right now, I’m smiling. That’s something I’ve not done enough when alone for what feels to be well beyond ‘long enough.’ This, I choose to see as a positive sign that the time is fast approaching for me to write regularly again
What is it in yourself that is powerful enough to get your self aware of what your soul must express? What is it that you are afraid to, and or don’t know how to say? Give yourself permission to answer such questions…
Have you any suggestions about how to uncover what yearns for or requires expression from you, or maybe for and from others via the writing process?
Good morning. 🙂 I came across Britta’s blog yesterday searching for anything that would offer help to get me out of this rut I have found myself in. I am a visual artist and have struggled off and on for many years what type of subject matter I should be doing. I have three main areas I enjoy but lack of enthusiasm from others, lack of sales and spending way too much money to promote my art with little return has killed my motivation and belief in my gift. Classic story, I know. Feeling really dispirited and lost for a year or so now, nothing interests me anymore and I find myself avoiding the studio a lot of the time. However, there is still that voice inside that says, create. I want to but am so afraid of the disappointment at the end when I am excited about what I have done and no body else is….not really….But then, just the day before yesterday, I read a post that someone had written about Prince and how his music had influenced and connected with this person and helped her through a very difficult time in her life. Essentially “saved it” and how he would never know. And that resonated with me. Keep doing what you like to do because you don’t know who is connecting with your unique vision. You don’t know how your art, in whatever form, may be encouraging someone, or fueling their own creativity. And then as I am reading different posts from Britta, today, I had to, of course, read “The one Thing Artists Need To Commit To”. There it is again. That same message. 🙂 Thank you, Britta, for your wonderful blog and thank you for continuing to be faithful to your calling despite your uncertainty at times. You have said just what I needed to hear and confirmed what the Great Creator is trying to get through to me. Thank you.
You are so welcome, Beth! I’m glad it spoke to you. And yes, you need to create for YOU, not for anyone else. I want you to go right now and buy Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic book and read it. Also, her podcasts, Magic Lessons, on her website (free). It will be just what your heart needs right now. Much love to you!!
This is awesome.