Daydream believer: Honour your creative gifts. (Do it: that’s the essence of this verbose and predictable ramble.)
Why do we write? How do you even tell someone you’re a writer without both of you slightly cringing like, **whooah- it’s a daydream believer! Smile and nod whilst backing away slowwwwwly)
The other night I was out to dinner. That may not be the remarkable thing. The remarkable thing is this: I left. I left early, quite early in the evening to everybody’s surprise.
It was early on a Friday night.
“I’m feeling inspired. I need to go home and write.”
The words slipped out before I had time to self-monitor. To realise that what I was saying actually sounded quite silly/waffly/pretentious/doofus-like/can’t-even-describe-but-you-know-what-I-mean.*
Or my friend did.
“You’re so full of it, Anna,” she said.
And I can understand that.
“Yeah… but you know how it is… When you’re feeling inspired, it’s best to go home and write while it’s fresh,” I said weakly.
And then I left, feeling like a possum with my tail gathered between my legs.
I’m grateful that I don’t have a tail but then who knows what I’m missing out on. (I’ll never know but that’s all good – part of God’s design: humans without tails and all that. Besides, if I had a tail I’d probably accidentally knock things over and super cede my natural inclination for clumsiness.)
As I drove home, or rather walked to my car, I realised how I sounded. Yeah, I could see how I sounded supercilious, even though that’s not what I meant.
I saw it from her point of view. And I realised how, sometimes, people who write who are really writers but don’t call themselves writers because they’re scared they’re going to get mocked. Or just because they write but haven’t been published much, they may not feel eligible to identify themselves with being a writer.
However, here’s the definition of a writer incase you were wondering…
We can suppose him/her to be someone who writes, thinks about writing, dreams about writing, writes about writing, would be a one-eyed Collingwood supporter if Writing was a football club, that type of thing)
See, here’s the thing: you can work a completely unrelated field, have a life that’s un-inclusive and seemingly unrelated to your art/writing/music/expressive dance/whatever it is but still have your identity firmly planted in your passion.
You can work as a hotel valet and be a writer.
You can own a milk bar and study botany and be a writer.
You can be a journalist and be a writer.
You can be/do whatever job or thing unrelated to writing in the whole world, live in the desert by yourself and fly to the moon and back (writing catchy pop songs about it as you get a first hand view on what that looks like) and still be a writer.
Being a writer is evinced by what you do (write) but I believe your art is firmly placed in your heart and will be unshakable, even if you are on hiatus away from your craft. You’re still a writer. Be true to yourself.
Yet, tools need to be sharpened (not always literally!!) and your gifts need to be developed. If God gave you a gift or passion for something then that’s awesome but don’t let it get dusty as you admire it on the “be-happy-about-but-wait-until-a-perfect-day-comes-to-open-it” shelf.
But here’s the thing, here’s the cringe-worthy thing that I both admit and propagate: saying you’re a writer does can a bit ‘pretentious/dorky/weird’ and people may laugh at you and try and tear it down but you have to true to yourself. Even if no-one else understands it.
It’s a love, it’s a passion. It’s also a gift from God. Yet, what (true) love is ignored? Sometimes, the same way you have to quietly leave a party to go pick up a friend from the train station, you can’t ignore your love. Sometimes you do need to be couped up in a small room with no Facebook distraction, an insurmountable but irresistible project or idea and a steady supply of snacks. Sometimes you just need to write. And get it done. Or similarly paint/draw/sing/write music/make an epic sandcastle, whatever …
Even if (or when) you do ignore your love you still need to be faithful and come back to it…
Plants need to be watered and your creative talents are no exception. You’re the only one who can water them in the kind of desert (and tall Poppy-land) which is full of resistance and, often, drought-like conditions which aren’t condusive to your craft.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that you should totally be an artistic diva/emo/egocentric maniac justified by ‘art.’ And no, you shouldn’t always leave parties early to write because writing is a solitary thing which you can always do, even at 4am in the morning if you’re keen, but hanging out with people is circumstantial and important.
Besides … conversations, experiences and observations spark creative ideas anyway. Feeling uninspired? Go people watch. Sit in a busy or quiet shopping centre and just watch. Fifteen minutes later you likely have fodder for 17 short stories and 2 full length novels.
So don’t be a hermit emo (or emu) but don’t neglect your gifts either. You can grow them and they’ll thrive and – who knows, maybe your building/novel/musing/extremely unique and provocative sculpture could change the world. Or one person, which is the same thing.
Moral of the story: be yourself. Realise that sometimes people will never understand why you do what you do, even you don’t understand but just be comfortable in who you are and stand firm for your potential – and destiny – even if the world around you tries to knock it down.
*Insert your own word that’s appropriate here. Different cultural and colloquialisms will refer it to as something different …