The thing about publishing is that it’s like a reallllly long ladder with neverending rungs. Just when one rung is reached, the next comes into view, then the next. Just like a poem or a novel, it seems we’re never finished.
Sometimes the writer’s journey hurts so much it aches – a physical sensation I’d liken to a punch in the chest, and which, from time to time, can extract a low groan which causes dogs’ heads to turn and husbands to pause the television to inquire.
Some days there is over-confidence, not necessarily because a writer thinks they’re oh-so-great, but as a stop-gap measure against the waves of terror that threaten to drown the hope, and occurring mostly on the days we feel especially discouraged, exposed, stressed or tired.
Other days we can lose all confidence because it’s easier to give up for a day (or month or week) than to continue to remain confident (takes much more energy) and withstand the aching assault on our hopes and dreams.
That’s where creative courage comes in.
It takes courage to create art, and not only create it, but risk the criticism and exposure that accompany the act of putting our work (our heart) out there.
Courage will falter from time to time. That’s normal. Those are the times it behooves us to follow our dreams back to their roots, to the childlike magic that precedes our words, brushstrokes, camera flashes, musical notes. Often, the act of art is an act of joy. If an artist can reconnect to the joy, the ache subsides and hope and fortitude return.
Writing is tough, getting agented is tough, going out on sub is tough — creative courage is tough, but if you’re creating art, if you’re putting yourself out there, if you’re picking yourself back up after a fall, please consider this post a candle in the window, a slap on the back, a full out parade replete with marching band, flashy floats and a blizzard of confetti in your honor.
More and more, I admire the artists of the world. I believe artists change the world, both within and without.
So, thank you for your creative courage. Thank you for lighting our candles with yours. We trudge on, in the light of your example.
Tomorrow is a new day.