late last year, when i got inspired to embark on my own self-paced artist residency in motherhood, i had no idea what i was going to do. i thought for sure that i would focus on writing. i love writing. i written a ridiculous amount of essays about how i love writing, how i need to write more and how i need to write better.
underneath all that angst was/is a woman wrestling with perfection and shame. i feel (and this is just my opinion) that for so long we have been sold the idea that our work has to have a monetary value to worthy of pursuit. i feel that in the back of most things i’ve tried to do creatively, i have thought how can i make money from this. i am in no way knocking making money for things. heck, we could all use some extra dough but that’s not where i am. having the invisible market idea has been paralyzing to me as a writer and visual artist. there is also the shaming of people for pursing monetary and/or not the things that they love in this culture of busy and important. we have all been knocked off our creative high horse by a wet blanket comment. it can and is hard to deal with haters. that last statement could be a blog post by itself.
anyways, am sure it goes deeper than that but this is not the time and place. i am sure i have loads of money story mess and self-worth mess all tangled up in this. i am sure of that but i find that i can analyze it, which i might do a better job of later, or i can get to work. that sounds so caviler but it’s not meant to be. i just know that getting in my head will only do so much.
however, moving my hands is often good for my head and heart. i think for me i had/have to see to believe. i am forever the doubting thomas, needing lines of blood and the pieces of thorns to believe anything is happening. i can wish i had stronger faith in myself, in my story and creativity or i can build that faith that by doing. for me, creativity begets creativity.
so i find myself looking for down-time , getting up early and staying up a little later, not to be a saint but to make space for what i need to do. i don’t think we get any rewards for playing small and not using our talents, in some way. conversely, i don’t think we need to internet famous to signify our importance. there is a middle ground in there.
i have a few guiding principles i try to work by these day—
- keep it simple. i think in the beginning i wanted to be all things to all people but once i started thinking of myself as a storyteller, i began to understand my visual and written media in a deeper way. it became less about the epiphany or clever words and more about the connection with the story and audience.
- do what you love and get help or guidance for what you don’t. i like to take photographs, write and make art. however, i don’t know everything there is to know about these subjects. i often study my favorite writers, instagramers , artist and bloggers. i don’t do it to copybut to understand what attracts me to their style, to see how the engage with their audience and present their “outside” work. also, i ask people for help, read tips and techniques about things that interest me, and even take classes to build my skill.
- don’t be afraid to stay the course (if it gets messy) or to change courses, if that is what you are called to do. sometimes it’s gets messy and murky before it gets clear. i have tried to do all sorts of things on this blog and others. however, i find that what works for me it to do what i want. this is not what any pro-blogger will tell you to do but i think that before i can decided who i am as a blogger, i have to blog more. I could spend years trying to figure it out or just do it and learn who i am and how i want to focus(or not). if you have followed or read my work for any length of time, you know i can be delete happy and am not afraid of starting over and changing directions. some post, some avenues or connections just don’t feel good for our souls (for a point in time or forever) and i try to listen and heed my intuition.
i feel like i am in a direction that feels like it is pointing towards pay-dirt and i don’t mean that in a monetary sense (although there is nothing wrong with that because money pays the bills) but in a more organic sense. i like the work that i am doing these days. it’s not perfect and i hope that i am not portraying that i have it all together (because i so don’t) but i feel that right now my words and art more genuine that anything i’ve ever produced. goodness that previous sentence is a lofty statement but it has many elements of truth in it, i can’t delete it.
i think that starting my artist residency in motherhood has been so good for my soul as a woman, a poc, a concerned and engaged citizen, a creative and a human being living on this mangled and beautiful earth.
i want to do the work. i want it to matter. i want it to build to something (even if i am not sure what that is or if that is something tangible) and i want to put it out there. that last one is the hardest because why do we put our work out there? yes, it can be helpful for building platforms and making deals but it can also foster connection, communion and accountability. it’s not an either/or situation but it’s not necessary always easy to navigate, for me.
i don’t have any reigns or parameters for this journey, i really don’t. i am just showing up. i am just making imperfect art, writing imperfect poetry and prose and repeating it. some days i am scared that i won’t show up or i will get it all wrong (and i do get it wrong). some days my showing up is so small—painting the background of page, writing a sentence in my journal, painting with my son, slowing down and making time to dream and talk to my husband, tossing a salad…it’s a little life of creative things. it’s a little life of showing up. it’s life of creativity begetting creativity. for however long i walk this walk. i am grateful.
tell me, what are you finding to be true about the interweaving of your creativity and life these days?