Why does a writer stop writing?
Why does an artist stop arting? (I know, “arting” isn’t a word but I can make up words if I want to.)
Why does a creator stop creating?
I’m sure many of you think you know the answer to these questions. Many of you will immediately leap to a word I’ve written about many times
But for me, it is something else. Something more difficult to define.
Sure, fear still whispers its ugly messages in my ear once in while:
“You aren’t good enough.”
“You will fail.”
“The world will laugh at your efforts.”
“You are doomed to rejection.”
Messages that can stop me cold, if I let them. Messages that have stopped me in the past, and probably will sometimes in the future.
But that is not what has silenced my voice a lot lately. After all, I have come to realize that there is nothing to be afraid of. I produced a work of which I am proud, and while it may not have become an international best seller, it has reached readers near and far and inspired quite a few of them.
As an aspiring writer I truly looked at Andra and the way she used her words as guidance. Never have I been so truly convinced of the influence of words until I read this book. I have always believed that words trump violence, and now I think it is time for society to recognize that as well.
Kramer truly has a way with words in her ability to create a world that is fantastical, and yet not so different from the world we live in. While the message of the book pertains to the innate strengths of women, everyone learns that they have a strength to be celebrated, not hidden away and shamed. (For the complete review click here)
I have nothing to be afraid of. I have fans asking me for a sequel, readers wondering when I will have another book out, supporters who want me to do presentations and workshops.
And yet, as of late, I have been silent. My words, even the private ones on journal pages, have not flowed. My art . . . whether Zentangles or something else, hasn’t poured onto pages. My dreams, of which there are many, haven’t found their way out of the secret corners of my mind.
That isn’t to say I’ve been doing nothing creative with my time. I am actually juggling many projects:
- I’m directing the upcoming production of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) which opens on Nov. 19
- I’m co-authoring a book entitled “Inclusive Theatre and Community Based Learning: Reaching Youth in Transition through Arts” which is based off a major collaboration between my Theatre for Young Audiences course and Public School transition students where they are creating a production to be performed in less than a month.
- I’m brainstorming ideas and workshops about for projects that I could do this summer to make some money as well as expand my reach.
- I have occasional book events, with more coming up in the future.
And yet . . .
I have silenced my voice. I have silenced my words. I have silenced my art.
If not out of fear, what is it.
I think, and this is me just spit-balling, I am not struggling with fear but I am struggling with the need to feel like my work has value. I’m not talking about financial value. Sure, I wouldn’t turn down a big advance and a million dollar book/movie deal–I’d be lying if I said that fantasy hasn’t popped into my head in quiet moments. What holds me back is the concern that I am just contributing more meaningless babble into a world inundated with blog posts, words, “art”, etc. I want to produce work that makes some kind of difference, that inspires, that changes perspectives, that encourages people to think/dream/be/create, whatever.
I’m not afraid of putting my work out there anymore, but I question the value of my own work.
How does one know if you’ve made a difference? Does making a difference even matter? Should I just create for the sake of creation?
Do you ever find yourself struggling with a reason to create?