We talk a lot about finding your passion and doing your art. And I love it all. I love to see your eyes light up when you are finally honest about what you really want to do.
But living the art doesn’t come out like riding on the back of a unicorn in gold-dipped shoes and galloping softly down a rainbow. It comes with grit. Exposure. Risk. Fear. Humility.
And sometimes humiliation. I have wished so many times that my passion was food. Oh, to write about tomato soup and eating around the table with family and making scones. I visit cooking blogs and make recipes and I feel safe and inspired.
But those things don’t make me come alive from the inside out.
Shannan wrote a post about sitting around with new friends some years ago, answering light-hearted questions about favorite foods and pet peeves. Easy stuff.
And then somebody asked what her biggest fear was and she quickly answered, “Being wrong.” Here’s what happened next:
“Everyone stopped talking, the game wasn’t fun anymore, and maybe the world stopped turning for a beat or two. I wanted to reach out and grab those two stupid words and stuff them right back in. I had spent my life being right. Admitting that I was afraid of being wrong was absolutely not right.
Why didn’t I just say “falling backwards off a steep cliff?” Why didn’t I say snakes? Speeding tickets? Slow drains? Camper toilets? … It’s funny how the truth takes new shape when it moves from your secret heart to the wide open air that you breathe. It becomes even bigger. It floats around and catches the light. It becomes a thing.”
Shannan, Shannan Martin Writes
It isn’t exactly parallel, but writing my first book was one long why-didn’t-I-just-say-snakes experience.
Why do I have to be passionate about something that is just so personal and exposing? Why do I feel compelled to splay my weaknesses in a book that is now sitting on bookstore shelves, bedside tables, car front seats, couch arms?
Why can’t I just write about food? Animals? The weather?
It’s deep and it’s serious and it’s sometimes heavy. It’s awkward to hold and it’s too long for an elevator pitch and it doesn’t look great in a tagline. It’s hard to market, difficult to summarize, cumbersome to share in the carpool line.
But when I look into your eyes and I see you get it too, when we can talk about the secret things and the mystery of this hope of glory — it’s like someone turned on the music.
Have you ever wanted to change your art, to adopt some skill or gift that you think would be easier to live with? What makes it worth it?
If you have an art alive within you that you would like help working out, check out Create + Complete: my online course to help artists, creators, and makers to finally finish projects that matter. Would love to have you join us.