There is just one big problem with putting yourself out there and declaring "I am going to be a writer" and that is that you have to get on with it and actually do some writing in the first place! The notion of writing has been gathering force within me for years now. The ideas and stream of consciousness incessantly flowing through my mind. Knowing that this is my calling, but too fearful to pick up that pen and start writing. Afraid to hear those first wobbly, imperfectly perfect words. I am a writer and this is my story.
I am not sure where to begin this writer's journey though. In my mind, so many times, I have started and restarted my story again and again. My biggest challenge has been to find the courage to be vulnerable. As Brene Brown says in her book "Daring Greatly",
"the first thing we look for in someone else is vulnerability, and the last thing we want to reveal to anyone is our vulnerability". She encourages us to be 'all in' and to 'dare greatly' in our lives. The bravest thing anyone can do is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
I however, "dare with great difficulty", and have a hard time with my own sense of shame and my resistance to such raw exposure.
"Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. That's why it loves perfectionists - it's so easy to keep us quiet" (Brene Brown). Shame convinces me that I am not worthy or good enough to speak up.
Currently I am reading 'Rising Strong' Brene's follow up to 'Daring Greatly'. I have recently finished the chapter where she talks about
"the middle is messy but it's also where the magic happens". Brene met with the writers from Pixar animation and they revealed the creative process behind a successful storytelling structure. Every writer or creator reaches that "Day Two" which is the day in the middle of this process where they get stuck. It is the non-negotiable hurdle that you have to just push on through. I can't help but also think of the writer Mark Manson's question, "what's your favourite flavour of shit sandwich?" He goes on to say that "everything sucks some of the time." What are we so passionate about in our life that we are also prepared to accept all the bad elements that come with it?
If we can somehow get through this difficult middle phase, there is promise of the magic that is to follow. In her book 'Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear' Elizabeth Gilbert refers to those moments as part of creative living, and poses the question,
"do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?" She speaks of us all having hidden jewels within us, and the hunt to find them is creative living. "Big Magic" is the result of this search for those hidden jewels.
I am somewhat daunted by the prospect of finding that big magic. What if my hidden treasures aren't so magical? Or worse still, the magic can't be found at all? To find it less overwhelming, perhaps I need to think more in terms of small magic rather than the big stuff. In order break through my "Day Two" hurdle, I just simply need to diligently carry on with the work in the hope to find a glimmer of a magic moment, no matter how small it is. A little bit can go a long way as they say.
My imaginative daughter is my inspiration for helping me realise those small moments of magic. Children are so connected to being in the present, and so acutely attuned to those little moments of magic. She said to me about a year ago, "Mummy, when I grow up I'm going to be a writer and illustrator." Unfaltering, unflinching and without hesitation. She said it with confidence and complete certainty. She knew that she was born to be a creator. Even at her young age of six, I have no doubt in my mind that she will achieve this goal. All of it, and more! She has an old shoe box full of all her written stories. She will write at any moment of the day when inspiration strikes (usually when she should be in bed getting to sleep!). No over-analysis or talking herself out of it.
I am in awe of that unspoilt confidence and self-belief. I used to have similar aspirations, but I never dared to say them out loud. I kept my deepest creative desires a secret for fear of being exposed in any way. Sometimes those creative moments would slip out. Perhaps a good drawing here or a creative story there as a child. Someone may have even paid me a compliment, or offered a word of encouragement that I would quickly brush off. If I did feel proud for a moment, it would soon be overshadowed by my self-conscious emotions of shame and embarrassment.
We were on a family holiday recently, and my daughter came up with a game. We looked out of the bedroom window at night onto book shop that was lit up with bright lights. She said we had to come up with a story about the imaginary world that was behind the shopfront. We conjured up all sorts of fantasies about "fairies and teddy bears landing on fluffy clouds in the land of milk and cookies." She then said to me quietly, "we should call these our magic moments and we have to come up with a new magic moment each night". I think that is probably the best advice I could possibly get on how to overcome my own "Day Two" and move forward with my writer's journey. I just need to try and find some magic even in those small, stolen moments of creative living.