Updated: Sep 3, 2020
“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” – Émile Zola
I used to run road races. In fact, when I was only eight, I was racing people to the finish line of 5ks and (retrospectively) taking my times and place far too seriously for a kiddo. I enter these races every now and then now, but when I do I purposefully stop at the water stations and take a long drink of water. I chat with people I'm jogging near. I appreciate the neighborhoods I'm running through. Now, if I enter one of these races, it's about the charity and the experience. Relevance, Jen? Well, I think many artists feel like they're in some kind of race. I recently read an article that mentioned the staggering number of books coming out late 2020 due to postponements. Authors and publishers alike are worried that their voices will be drowned out by the masses. I think the concern is valid, but I want to offer a different perspective. After I read that article, I realized I too had similar fears in the past. I worried that there would be a publication too near my own or that the sheer number of books would mean mine would never be read. As a short story writer, I wished I wrote what was more marketable. But then I'd return to my reason. Here, I want to echo Steven Pressfield, who wrote one of my favorite books on writing. "Creative work is a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got."
And dare I add, give it without expectation! The work will dictate its own timeline and audience, but I think worrying about the market value of the thing is silly -- at least for the writer. Let others worry about that. For you, writer, the job is to put the work in the world. Let it take its mysterious journey and find the people it needs to find. Tell about it, talk about it, and keep creating.
Creativity prompt: Since we are not traveling much (most of us), write about a trip. It can be fiction or nonfiction. Use every opportunity to create sensory detail and immerse yourself and your reader in this experience. We need it!
With Love, Jen
Confidence is about recognizing and sharing our gifts in an authentic way. This is a brief meditation that invites you to connect to your breath and remember your own strengths by viewing yourself from another's perspective.