May 14, 2004
The last couple of months I’ve been very busy with work. Looking at my schedule for the rest of the year I see it doesn’t let up anytime soon. Most of the work centres around photography, designing some sites, graphic work for books and magazines, and a few other odds and ends.
It doesn’t, however, centre around writing.
That’s because my dream has evolved. It happened awhile ago but I’ve been in a slight bit of denial about I because I used to think writing was it. I used to think all I should do was be a writer – after all, hadn’t I built a reputation on that? Isn’t everyone always telling you to find one thing you’re good at and do that for the rest of your life?
But last year I worked as a stand-in on a big NBC movie where my days began at 7AM and ended no earlier than 3AM. It was freezing cold and there was a lot of waiting involved but I loved every minute of it. I have no ambitions to be an actress but I loved being around other creative people. I loved being around buzz. The life of a writer is very solitary and, although I am a quiet and shy soul who adores her private time, I like to be around others when I choose.
During the time of the movie I didn’t write at all, instead I just worked on the film and photographed a lot. These photographs were shared with people who told me they needed them for their book, magazine or wall. You�re kidding, was my first response, you want art from a writer? But I gave into them just the same.
Later on I started to get more requests for my artwork from magazine editors to book publishers. I had requests to work on another movie (which, I had to turn down due to a travel conflict) and requests for more design consultation. I found myself feeling occupied, happy, and energetic. I hadn’t felt energetic in a long time. In fact, nothing ever wears me out more than writing.
I knew that I wanted to keep writing, especially my travel writing, but I wanted more. Exactly what I wasn’t sure but I knew there was something bigger yet for me to do. I started to see writing less as a career for life and more as a very safe and good stepping stone. Part of the scenery on a very, long creative road.
It�s felt very scary, strange, and selfish to admit that. Sometimes it’s even felt just wrong. The fear of pursuing another dream is the exact same fear I had when I first thought about pursuing writing; when I had no idea what I would do, I just knew I had to do something.
The past two weeks, I’ve become braver about declaring my other ambitions, even if they’re not entirely formed and if only to myself. Once I started to admit these ideas I noticed synchronicities popping up all over.
I had to test if these synchronicities were real or just coincidences that had no meaning. (I find when I want something and am near to getting it, I keep trying to find reasons why it won’t happen as a way to protect me from getting my hopes up. I’m a hopes up kind of girl and can often crash very hard.)
So the other morning I asked outloud, “It seems so complicated. How should I know if I should move forward with my new dream?”
I left the room and headed to my office to check my email and noticed there was an e-card from my dear friend, Summer Pierre. She has sent a card that was written by my other friend, Keri Smith, and the card was:
I sat there for a moment, digesting a very large permission slip. And at that moment, I knew I could move forward. I don’t have all the answers, I don’t have a perfectly formed new dream but I am a creative girl who wants to live creatively in all it’s forms – writing or otherwise.
People often think that living creatively gets easier – it doesn’t. Nothing stays the same, especially you. The last three years has brought so much change, so much clarity, so much confidence that I’m busting out of my current seams. I need to make a new outfit and that, I’m learning, isn’t just OK, it’s expected.
After sitting with this for awhile, I started to tare away at all the excuses I had been giving myself as to why I couldn’t go to the next level. I started to examine my fears and work through them. I started to cut out all the BS and make everything simple. It’s a lot easier to move freely when things are simple.
I also realised that the last few entries I had been writing about listening to your heart and pursuing things wasn’t really written for others – it was written by my heart for me.
Exactly where I’ll go from here I’m not sure. A dream isn’t instantaneous. You might have an inkling at first but the dream will develop and take on a life of it’s own – I learned this the first time. I also learned to just enjoy the ride and not make demands on the dream to hurry up. One should never rush a dream.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to write, to paint, to photograph and design. What else? I’m not sure. And right now, I don’t need to be. I just need to trust in the possibility of a dream like I did before.