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Hopeful Creatives, Authors, World Conquerors This is For You

April 26, 2012

Creating work out of that pressure, doing all of the things that you have been taught by others, and listening to that voice in your head that tells you you need to be better is not what will create that success you are craving. The true work, (meaning the work you are here to do), comes from a completely different place than this. This energy of pressure actually does very little to move you ahead and into the place where you desire to go, and in some cases can even lead you in the complete opposite direction. I know your head is telling you you need to do it but really that is just dogma you have been taught by other people who are scared of going to their own true place (doing the work that they are really meant to do), so they go on repeating what they were told by other fearful people, and so on and so on.

My friend and fierce artist, person, force KERI SMITH wrote something that you should read.  What she speaks of is probably one of the hardest things to learn if you are yearning for impact or not.  It is learning to TRUST yourself more than anyone else.  This means letting go of the voices of your parents, spouses, the media, agents, publishers, experts of any field, and getting very still to hear your own voice.  What she says is really the most complete and valid, but let me add some thoughts here:

Someone I know and love very dearly wrote me recently to ask for life advice.  I was hesitant to answer because I don’t thnk advice is ever what people want, even when they are asking for it.  As Keri says, what they are looking for is something so specific and quick.  Yet, I did answer and what I said is also what I think Keri is saying.  To paraphrase Alice Sebold: If you do not save yourself, you will remain unsaved.  Advice won’t save you from the work you must do yourself.  Neither will inspiration, marketing, therapy, guidance, etc.  Eventually, you need to pick up where you are and do the often unsexy, boring, embarrassing, cold effort on your own.  You also have to give up the expectation that one answer fits all.  I can’t tell you the amount of time I have spent hoping to be saved by someone or something to usher me into what I hope to heal, to accomplish, to win–but I am learning (especially since my two books came out*) that only YOU can do the work that will lead you to where you need to go.  It’s sometimes lonely, it’s baffling, and can be so SLOW it’s maddening.  It’s also frickn’ difficult to do among the NOISE of the internet how-to world (this blog post will be exhibit A).  Yet, that is what is required of us all.  In fact, that is the only requirement.

*I will say this too–don’t expect that this struggle will change when you have achieved some “success.”  In fact, expect that the voices of advice will only GET LOUDER and the struggle to maintain your own counsel HARDER.

Okay, that is my tough love sermon for the day.  Go read Keri’s letter.  It’s tough and true.



  1. April 26, 2012 6:31 pm

    I especially like the list you created on effort. Often it is “unsexy, boring, embarassing, cold, lonely, baffling, SLOW, maddening, difficult.” I share a studio wall and sometimes I yell down the hall to my painter friend that I’M FOLLOWING MY BLISS NOW!!! when I’m cleaning the studio, or struggling, or stuck, or am sure I am a big fake with nothing to offer. Thanks for bringing up the parts that aren’t blissful, because they are needed as well. They are generally invisible and only show in the radiant finished product. I think that a finished painting, book, or CD is like the tip of an iceberg. There’s a lot of effort under the surface that no one ever sees. Thank for writing this, and for Keri’s letter

  2. April 28, 2012 4:40 am

    Oh terrific post! Thank you – very kick-ass and inspiring.

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