Building a Creative Life
I haven’t been active on this blog in quite some time, but I have a good reason. I’ve been away building a creative life for myself. The first step in building that life has been admitting to myself that I am, at my core, a writer. I once engaged a life coach who told me that my day job wasn’t creative enough for me, that I saw the world through an artist’s eyes and that I was denying a core part of my identity and spirit by not letting my creative self breathe. I wanted to believe her, but I couldn’t because I was unable to reconcile the cultural belief that money needed to be the end result of any expenditure of my time and energy. I never stopped to consider that I should devote my time and energy to the thing that made me feel most alive and connected to the world.
I’ve spent the last two years writing a memoir about my struggles with mental health and my journey to discover the hidden parts of my identity. It’s been a challenging, rewarding and painful experience. I feel elated and gratified to have completed a working draft of my book, even while knowing that I will have to rewrite it as I garner feedback from other writers. The process taught me that devoting time to the thing that makes me feel most alive is part of my purpose on this Earth. To that end, I’ve been working on building a creative life.
I’m making several concrete changes in my life to foster creativity, and as I do so, I feel more alive and joyful. I’m taking myself on art dates, whether it be to museums, plays, musicals, readings, or concerts. Being in the presence of others’ creative works inspires me in my writing. I’m listening to poetry in the evenings. I find that hearing poetry deepens the experience of the poem and spurs me on to try writing my own poems. I’m setting aside time each morning for my writing, both time to journal, to get my thoughts about life onto the page, and then time for my writing that I intend to share with the world, whether it be essays, working on my book, or poetry. Giving myself this gift each morning is very fulfilling and sets me up to feel creative the rest of the day and best of all, I’m learning that having a regular creative practice fuels me to be even more creative. The words flow out of me and I feel compelled to write now that I’m allowing myself to do the very thing that brings me to life. It's no longer a chore to write because I know it's essential to my being.
I hope to share my memoir with the world one day. I’m excited to share my story with others and I hope in some small way that others might benefit from hearing my story as I’ve grown from reading the stories of others. I think we foster connection and empathy through art, in whatever form our art takes. I hope more people will cast aside the resistance to create. I think the world is a better place when art enters our hearts and minds. And we need the world to be a better place.