A weekly feature where I delve into famous writer’s words of wisdom and share how I have interpreted the meaning for my own creative endeavors!
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
Now here is a piece of advice from a woman who’s wisdom I have worshiped for a long time. Maya Angelou had this way of stating things in such a beautifully powerful way – things that often times should be simple truth, common knowledge and sense, yet in this comparison society that pushes conventional needs in order to be complete they are very far from practiced and ever the reminder we need.
Her words ring with the clarity of a bell that reverberates in your soul the reawakening of truth that reconnects you with your whole, with the greater picture in a way that brings you back to the simple wonderment of a moment, an emotion, your strength and inner capability.
Something that I personally have needed along my journey of creation vs creator and the life associated with the struggles of an artist.
One of the biggest, I think for any creative really, is the struggle, the want, and desperate need to be seen, to find an audience, to feel accepted by your peers and embraced by an audience…any audience.
We want to be understood. We want our work to be understood. And yeah, let’s face it, we all want to be told that we are talented. It can be a world of insular second-guessing quicksand “am I any good?” “Is this even legible?” “Does this make any sense” “Oh god, I’m a hack” etc. etc. etc.
Ironically enough this inner torment usually comes from looking outside for the acknowledgment and We reassurance that this world, this genre, this vocation has a place for us. We start to seek out something anything that will put our minds at piece, that will stop that dreadful nagging of self doubt and encourage us to keep going.
You google anything about any kind of writing/author career and you get ten to one a bunch of articles detailing the reasons why its an impossible dream. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of support and encouragement to be found even in the silver lining of what is deemed the “reality of the business” but when you are coming from a place of needing to be told you are good, of such extreme insecurity there is little to be done and even less to be found.
The unconventional path of an artist is full of unknowns, of subjection, rejection, no’s, and failure. You signed up for that the minute you put pen to paper and well immersed in it, well facing the hundreds of thousands of other writer’s you think are better than you, well reading statistics of getting published or finding an agent, when submitting a piece and getting it back covered in red ink, or with notes that use the whole point of your piece as a critique instead of contextual consolation! – not that something that specific has ever happened to me or anything *cough-cough* – it can be hard to remember what prompted you to start at all.
It’s easy to forget the passion, to have the flame burn out, and completely lose the fun. I mean think back to the last time you were sitting in front of your computer on a roll, sitting on the edge of your seat as your fingers fly across the keyboard trying to keep up with the scene playing out vigorously in your mind’s eye, tries to keep up with your lips as you mouth the perfect exchange, the most poigent description, or scene you didn’t even know was necessary but brings it all together and bridges that gap that you hadn’t clue of how to before!
It’s magic, it’s synchronicity, its brilliant and so are you! You strut your stuff, you pat yourself on the back, you do a happy dance in chair – hell you even jump up on the damn desk sometimes and boogie it the hell out! – you feel amazing because you just accomplished something that fuels you. You just filled up your own love tank and are that much closer to realizing your potential. You just made physical a dream. Your dream. And all because you believed in yourself enough to start.
That’s really all that matter’s. Like Maya said herself “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
So believe in yourself enough to see it through, enough to finish and, if necessary start again and again and again until it happens, but keep the faith in yourself, keep the joy. Keep reaching to be better, to stand alongside those you admire, don’t compare because we are all different, no two paths will ever be the same and in such an uncertain career that goes for the rules as well. They are guidelines not hard fact, and that’s great because it means that anything can happen.
So keep tooting your own horn, keep having fun with it, well you grow, you learn, and you keep writing, expanding your reach where it will eventually touch upon the audience who will love your work as much as you do. It exists, but in this business the only thing that really opens doors and gets you places is the consistency and respect that comes from withing, that shows up for itself.
We should all be our number one fan first and foremost, after all…if you write it…they will come. So write on you mad genius, write on!