One of my friends asked me the other day, “What’s your end game?” He was referring to my blogging and other creative endeavors in which I have embarked. End game? I suppose what he wanted to know was why. Why am I spending so much time writing and creating all the other stuff I’m working on? It certainly is a time-suck, and requires energy, and some cash for sure. I could certainly spend more time relaxing or doing any number of the hobbies I enjoy doing.
I sat there, feeling sort of stupid, and quite frankly unable to clearly articulate my answer. Why? I felt myself start to stammer a little bit and then suddenly I was gripped with fear. I was about to admit – out loud no less – the truth about my creative life. I immediately felt my “judger” kick in with, that is going to sound so cliché. It’s the same voice that pops up when I’m writing and creating anyway, so I just ignored it and carried on. (Yeah, you all know the voice. See my post “Creating With That Voice in Your Head”). While my response to my friend was far less articulate, here is what I said:
Because it’s not about me.
I’m writing and creating because I know words matter. I know every day that the words I write and speak can impact people in a way that even I can take for granted. My work and what I write isn’t about me really – I sort of wish it was – but the truth is, it is the culmination of my experience built on the genius of many masters who have walked before me. To say that any of it is all mine would be ridiculous. To say that I have all the answers would be just as ridiculous.
When I create it is incredibly humbling, and I feel incredibly vulnerable. Through my words, I open my heart to the world. And in turn, I know others reading or listening can open their own hearts, even if it is only to themselves in that moment. Ultimately, I have no control over how people interpret what I write or say. That’s the vulnerable part. What if I inadvertently offend someone? What if I suffer a backlash of criticism? Once it is written or recorded and I hit publish, the rest is out of my hands. I am forced to surrender the interpretation of my heart to my followers or not. It is at once terrifying and deeply liberating.
Because I love community.
I love connecting with people. I always have, even since I was a very little human. I know that my nature is one that wants to reach out to people. Words have the capability to link people to each other and to create communities to support one another. I’ve found that this is really the only way to live.
And the advantage that I have versus people in the early years is that I can put my words out into the world a bit easier than say the lovely Ben Franklin did with that first printing press. Or like we used to with the ditto machine. Thank goodness, huh?
Because my heart is called to create.
I’ve always been creative. Even in my youngest years I had a journal and I wrote poems. Granted, by eighth grade I was pretty much just stealing everything from Edgar Allan Poe – but seriously, who wasn’t at that age? I wrote stories and once I learned to play the guitar, I started writing songs. Then, I went to Second City and completed the writing program. Different mediums, but what they all had in common was words. Writing down and speaking my words.
It took a long time for me to admit to myself that I was a writer and a “creative”, and that there was something that pressed to be said through me. As a matter of fact, the first blog post I ever wrote had me in tears when I finished it. There was a precipice that was crossed that day. These points occur at some point for all of us; mine just happened to show up at my dining-room table that doubles as my desk on occasion.
Because it is a privilege.
Lastly, when someone is reading what I’ve written or listening to what I’m saying, I am honored and grateful. It is truly a gift to get the time and attention of another person. Our attention is our most valuable resource, and it is a gift to be heard, read and listened to by another.
So, what’s my end game? To create. Really, that’s it. I have no idea where it will lead, if anywhere at all. I write because I love it. I hit the record button because I love it. The truth is, I can’t help myself.
Why do you create? Do you write? Do you paint? Do you sing in the car as loud as you can? I’d love to hear about it.