What holds you back?
Like, what really and truly puts up a blockade, denies you access, and wreaks havoc on your mind. Do you remain in a rut for fear of change? Do you avoid social interactions for fear of judgement? Or is it slightly more unsuspecting, like casting judgement onto others based upon the definitions of your choosing?
I ask you this because of an inspiring Brené Brown Podcast with Jake Wesley Rogers. They were discussing the limitations we put onto ourselves–cages as he referred to them–and he furthered that by suggesting we are all caged in one way or another, and if we hope to better ourselves in this world we must find the key, and be brave enough to set ourselves free.
This idea really spoke to me. It acknowledged the struggles we all face, and affirmed the shackles I felt for so many years–normalizing them, even. It brought clarity to an idea of my own, one which paralleled this idea of being caged by limitations. In my mind though, it’s always been shackles.
Looking back to a time before the write life found me, I can picture myself–a much younger me, frail, and burdened by the weight of many shackles.
Am I worthy? Am I enough? What will they think of me? …What if–
Every question and judgement–shackle after shackle–bound to my body, holding me back as I attempted to push forward. My feet heavy, my arms frail, and my soul broken–unable to find relief. Yet, I pushed on, clunking forward, pulling the weights as I went, hoping and praying that one day they would release me. But they held me down. My feet cemented to the ground as I leaned into a step, hoping to gain forward momentum–but my arms remained in a vice, bound awkwardly like some filthy criminal. Cries of agony trickled over my lips as I reached my face to the sun, but was never able to feel its warmth.
Limitations were all that I knew.
Unfortunately for me, the only way to break through my limitations–the shackles that held me back–was to do the hard work. The work of looking at myself through a new lens, reflecting on who I was, and ultimately, who I wanted to be.
This is when writing found me. Words gave me strength to search my soul, break free from the shackles, and allowed me to step into who I was meant to be:
A writer with a mission to inspire.
But isn’t that why we, the creators, do what we do? No matter what you write–from romance to horror, tragic tales to inspirational stories, or even some entertaining smut–you just want your readers to feel something new, and have an experience outside of their usual day-to-day life.
At the same time though, writing can be torturous.
The process is a struggle that pulls us through waves of uncertainty and self-doubt–clawing at nothing, in hopes of creating something. We grasp at ideas in an attempt to find words that portray what you hope to say, translating your muddled thoughts onto paper or screen, desperate to find depth and meaning. And you regularly put yourself through these various levels of twisted and cruel torture, just for the satisfaction of a beautifully crafted piece of work.
Having a creative mind means releasing yourself from limitations, and trusting the process. You will tell yourself that you can’t do it–but you know you can–it just might take a while. You will tell yourself that it’s not good enough–but you know it is–well, at least it will be, after an endless parade of edits. You will tell yourself all kinds of cruel and unusual things. Nearing the end though, you will see a light, one that lets you know that a masterpiece is well within your grasp. It comes at a price though: Opening up to vulnerability. It’s a bittersweet exercise–opening your soul for the world to see–in hopes of bringing a moment of clarity, or joy, or peace, or whatever possibility it opens within the mind of another.
This is why creators share, and why it can be so powerful.
Telling stories, our truths or a fictional tale, takes a lot out of us. It requires us to commit to something bigger than ourselves–while at the same time battling within ourselves. It requires patience, and commitment. Love, and understanding. Persistence, and the willingness to trudge on, through the ugliness, through the pain, and await the moment you can share your work–with hopes of inspiring the world.
So, now, let me ask you–creator or not–what limitations do you place on yourself? And are you brave enough to step into vulnerability, in order to break free?
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