This series of articles running through January will explore ways of keeping our head above water in physical, mental, emotional and creative areas. There will be creative challenges, competitions and giveaways. For the full background see here.
My dears, sometimes we feel fretful. For those whose drive to create is at the heart of them it’s something we have to do, somehow, it keeps us mentally sane, we are jittery and pacing if we don’t unlease these thoughts and connections that are zooming round our brains, if we don’t release the tender and exhilarated feelings pressing on our chests.
But we have normal jobs and duties and responsibilities. We have things that other people think we should be doing, indeed things we think we should probably do, housework is one shining example in my case.
I’ve written before about how taking part in the 50,000 word November nanowrimo writing challenge ensured that I was writing everyday but also that my family got on board to help me complete the challenge. For one month I could explain that I needed extra time, space and help to complete the full quota of words. It’s easier to ask people to rally round when it’s not an ongoing thing. If you have a family or a full time job it’s not possible to use every other spare minute to pour into writing or whatever creative endeavour you are pursuing. You usually have to work around things.
However, if you ask for time, a full day every so often to dedicate to it, a quiet hour when the kids aren’t to bother you, a weekend retreat that can be organised well in advance, friends and family are often happy to step up and help out to do something to support you. You can be flexible and ask them to be flexible. People like to be helpful when asked straight out for something specific, most of the time anyway!
But the first step is saying that you want to be a writer, or a photographer or an artist or whatever it is. It might be a hobby but now you want to take it more seriously. One of my most popular posts ever was: I’m not an aspiring writer. If you write, you are not aspiring, okay, you might not be a published author, you might aspire to be one of those but if you write and love it and make stories you are not just aspiring to write, you are. If you say what you are and what you want to be then over time people will come to see you and refer to you in those terms. Yes, you might feel more confident if you win a competition, or join a writing group or do a course. These are all ways that you will feel legitimized. But if you have a desire to create, let it be known and find ways of pursuing it. Don’t scuttle around in the background trying to fit it in without imposing on anyone else.
Some people play golf for the weekend, you create. And it doesn’t even matter if you are good right now, people learn to play golf, you can learn to write or paint or whatever it is because that’s who you are, now just let everyone else know about it.