There’s a conversation I’ve been having a lot with my clients recently.
It goes something like this. They want to write, but they’re afraid it’s selfish. They’re worried it’s self indulgent. Silly, even. They “shouldn’t” be “wasting time” on their writing. Not when they could be doing something more “meaningful” in the world.
It’s a conversation that breaks my heart, partly because I recognize the feeling behind it so well. For many of us, we are driven by our desire to go out and do good in the world. We want to take care of the other people in our lives: our friends, our colleagues, our families. This desire is good, and beautiful, and true. But sometimes we can let this desire to look after others take precedence over taking care of ourselves.
Sometimes, it helps to reframe a fear. If we look at one of our core beliefs from a different perspective, can we learn something new?
Here’s how I learned to reframe my fear that “my writing life is selfish” for myself. It’s an experience I try to share with my clients, and I hope it will resonate with you too.
Living your creative life is an act of service.
Finding the time to write? Giving yourself the space to nourish your creativity? Finding ways to move your stories into the world in a way that feels good and true to the world? This is the opposite of being selfish. This is you doing the hard work of nourishing your creative life.
It is my heartfelt belief that each person on this planet has a drive to create. This can take many different forms. Maybe it’s creating a beautiful garden; or perhaps it is the weekly miracle of creating a perfect Sunday roast. But we each have a creative offering we can make to the world.
When we learn to express ourselves creatively, we show up. We grapple with big questions. We get to know ourselves. We connect with the world around us. We take ourselves and our dreams seriously. We’re excited, bubbling, fizzing with the joy of making.
What happens when we don’t allow ourselves any creative outlets? We experience frustration, loneliness, a sense of lack.
Which person would you rather have in your life?
And what kind of life would you wish for the people you love?
My experience has been that when I focus on my writing life, I am a better person to be around. I can be there in deeper ways for my friends and family. I am not resentful of taking care of other people’s needs because my own are met. I’m a better coach and workshop leader. I hope I am able to show, through example, that it is possible to live a creative life with integrity. For me, making time and energy for my writing is an act of service that enables me to be a better person out in the world.
What’s beneath the fear?
Does this resonate with you? If it does, you may be wondering what the next step is. All the challenges that exist in finding time to focus on your writing are likely still there. That’s ok – this is step one, acknowledging that your writing life is important. From this realization a lot of wonderful things can happen.
And if everything I wrote above sounds nice in theory, but doesn’t feel true in your heart I encourage you to sit with that for while. Is there something deeper beneath this fear? What do you think you would need to hear or believe to feel that your desire to write is important and valid?
These are big questions. They can be hard to grapple on our own. If you’re looking for someone to talk through your biggest creative questions with, you might enjoy working with Firefly Creative Writing.
These are the questions that fill up my day. I love talking to my clients about their creative process. I love sitting in and checking with myself to figure out what my creative self needs right now. The work is ongoing and ever-evolving, and that’s part of the fun.
I’d love to hear in the comments how you make time for your creativity. Have you noticed positive impacts in your life from making space for your writing?