Rules for Authentically Following Your Creative Pursuit

Author Donald Miller identified some rules for writing to help him get out of a funk and stay true to his message and not be swayed by the crowd. And although they are for him as a writer, they ring true for anybody who is working hard at getting their creative work seen by the crowd.

In light of my recent bout of writer’s block, I was reminded again that these blockages are normal, yet are only a temporary feeling of disillusionment.

Miller says:

“To remind myself to never go back to being careful, I made a list of new freedoms.

It looked like this:

I am willing to sound dumb.

I am willing to be wrong.

I am willing to be passionate about something that isn’t perceived as cool.

I am willing to express a theory.

I am willing to admit I’m afraid.

I’m willing to contradict something I’ve said before.

I’m willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one.

I’m willing to apologize.

I’m perfectly willing to be perfectly human.

~ Scary Close, pg 148

As I read this list of freedoms a few months ago, I immediately felt a sense of courage burn through my veins. It helped me to realise that as a creative, the hardest part is staying real to the gift I’ve been given, and honest in sharing the unique view of the world that I’ve been granted.

It’s now up to me to share with passion and authenticity. If I don’t, I’m no help to anyone and certainly not being true to myself.

I Don’t Know How To Do It

It’s been said that we should only live to please God and when we serve the needs of other people we are foolish. I thought I was pretty good at this, until I began to receive some small accolades for what I can do.

Slowly my blog traffic has increased and people around me comment on how the words are touching them. It flatters me, and I do what I can to remain humble. But I’ve noticed a pattern.

In the days and weeks following a good week of blog traffic, I freeze, unsure of what I should write and if it will connect with my audience. In some ways the success feels like a noose around my neck, even though having people read and be encouraged with what I write is one of my goals.

So it’s hard.

I know that performing for the reader isn’t the answer, because it’s short lived. But I’m still figuring out how I hold in tension the diverse opinions that come way, yet not be swayed by those same opinions.

There are some days when I feel super sure that God remains my focus and it is only him I serve and write for. But I mostly say those kinds of comments when I’m not being ‘successful’ and the feedback is lacking and my readership is low.

But when I am going well, and traffic is on the rise, I find it super difficult to ignore the applause of the crowd and just write what I feel I’m meant too.

Even now I’m not sure how to deal with it.

The encouragement I’ve received from you guys has meant the world to me. It’s helped me keep going when I’ve wanted to quit. I feel like I’m just hitting another level that I’m learning to be comfortable with. It feels like growing pains.

I don’t know how to harness this new success, but also stay true to my calling and not allow the crowd to influence the future words that I pen.

It’s hard, and I don’t know how to deal with it.

Pipe Down on the Judgements

“We tend to judge others by their behavior, and ourselves by our intentions.”

It’s true. When I get upset by what someone has done, I naively explain to myself that I’d never act the way they did.

Of course, that’s only part of the story, because deep down we all know that we have little habits that plague our own lives and seek to undermine the decisions that we make.

It’s always helpful when we’re frustrated by someone else’s behaviour to put ourselves in their shoes and see how we’d react. Not only that, we should take the time to turn our intentions into actions, because in that moment we may discover that the behaviours we are exhibiting are being harshly judged by someone else.

And that’s never a nice feeling.

Judge others in the same way you wish to be judged. In that way, you may find yourself being less critical and a much more forgiving person.

How I Overcame a 6 Year Relational Stalemate With a Friend

Over six years ago, a friend and I had a falling out. The fruit of this meant we didn’t cross paths for a long time. I carried this with me and felt there was always a dark cloud hanging over my head and our friendship.

670px-Stop-Holding-Grudges-Step-1

Well, last night, I faced it.

I have never been so nervous in all my life. As I drove up to their house my heart skipped a beat. I knew I was doing the right thing, but hell I was edgy. Not only that, I knew it was the mature thing. Mending friendships and rebuilding bridges is an important part of what it takes to be an adult.

I don’t like the idea that I’ve got ‘enemies’ out there. It doesn’t sit right with me.

Thankfully, our time together went better than I expected. My friend and I were able to forgive and forget—not in a super religious confession and absolution way, but with an understanding that the decisions we made in those moments 2,000+ days ago were the right ones. It’s only in hindsight that we (I) became aware that we’re missing out on something unique by not being friends.

* * * * *

It made me realise how easily we hold grudges. How easily we want to be right and prove the other person wrong. It made me realise that with maturity, hindsight and time, we are able to forgive and write a new chapter—a chapter of beautiful reconciliation.

Mostly though, it’s pride that stops two people from reconnecting. Pride because you don’t want to make the first move because somehow that may indicate guilt, remorse or weakness. In fact, it shows the opposite to all those things.

In that moment as we sipped our tea, I realised that life is too short to keep a stockpile of negative relationships and bad blood between friends. It’s just not worth it.

With maturity and the ability (and desire) to understand, any issue can be worked through. Attempting reconciliation is the only solution if we want to be able to communicate and connect with people over the long-term, and imitate the world we desire to see.

Forgive, forge a new chapter and feel free.

I dare you.

Drink the Water

5-8 In a small Samaritan town known as Sychar, Jesus and His entourage stopped to rest at the historic well that Jacob gave his son Joseph. It was about noon when Jesus found a spot to sit close to the well while the disciples ventured off to find provisions. From His vantage, He watched as a Samaritan woman approached to draw some water.Unexpectedly He spoke to her.

Jesus: Would you draw water, and give Me a drink?

Read more