Below is a picture of a piece of art in our Norman community downtown. Every time we pass this piece, my toddler age son Blaine says, “There you are, mommy.” He SEES me in a completely different way than I often see myself. I want to be the woman he sees, cool, confident, wild. Unfortunately, I don’t usually feel this way about myself.
I hear creative people talk about self-confidence a lot. I mean a lot. Some of the most creative people I know have the lowest level of confidence. I have had to work on my own confidence in order to be creative. Following are some thoughts that help keep me sane as a writer, professor, and mom. Being a mom is one of the most creative endeavors I could imagine.
1. Practicing yoga has taught me this: Keep your eyes on your own mat. Out of the billions of people in the world, there is truly only one you. Who cares if you will never write like _____? You were born to write like you.
2. At the same time, realize you are but one grain of sand in the entrance of an ocean. While 1 and 2 may sound contradictory, they’re actually complimentary. In other words, yeah, you’re special but not that special. We will all be replaced at some point. Let that idea take some pressure off you.
3. You are not doing the world or yourself any favors by keeping your creativity to yourself. Creativity is meant to be shared. Creativity in its purest form is love. Why should you keep all the love packed away? Who are you saving it for?
4. Related to number 3 is this one, You are meant to create a tribe of people around you to stimulate your creativity, push your buttons and your boundaries, and hold you accountable to continually create. When I teach Creative Writing, I share my work sometimes with my students. They need to see what real writing looks like, and we continually inspire each other. I still keep up with many of them on Facebook and through texting. They help remind me of my bigger purpose. I have colleagues who do something similar for me within our pedagogical relationships.
5. Read, read, read. Write, write, write. I am my most creative when I read. This relationship remains magical for me and has existed since I was a child. Reading begets writing, and vica versa.
6. Do something that scares you every day. Every single day. Your getting used to being afraid will contribute to your desire to be creative.
7. Fail miserably every chance you get. If you are not failing, you are not taking chances. Creativity invites you to mess up. Some of biggest messes have become my proudest moments.