Find Your Art

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”

—Neil Gaiman

I love to write. The act of creating something from nothing.  I love the evolutionary process that writing is. Inspiration, idea, fingers on a keyboard, deleting, rewriting, fine tuning, putting out a finished product that is never actually finished.  There is always another revision. There is always something that can be added and maybe more importantly, deleted.

I believe in the idea that a Muse comes and visits me, giving me the gift of an idea and the inspiration to chase it.  The preliminary inspiration coming on like a bolt of lightning, and I sitting with my empty jar hoping to bottle a little of it. Beginning with one sentence, the floodgates open and the words flow so quickly I struggle to keep up. Worried that I cannot write fast enough, afraid that the Muse will take her story elsewhere before I have a shot at it. Because whatever story the Muse bestows upon you must be told. Whether by you or someone else.

I love when she visits, when I find myself lost within the words, the need to convey the message is so consuming and so powerful.  When the words truly flow, when all the stars are aligned and the story just pours out of me I am transported to another world. Time ceases to exist and I am lost within myself.

Often times what I write brings me pain. To write the story I have to write is to open old wounds and explore the darkest recesses of my mind. Exploring the thoughts and the memories most of us choose to push further away. Dissecting them and making them bleed.  When the last word of the day is written and there is no more blood to give I slowly come back to reality. I’ve traveled a great distance without ever leaving my seat.  It is a spiritual journey, a form of meditation.  I find myself at the crossroads of mental exhaustion and invigoration. A paradox I would not trade for anything.

Writing helped pull me from the darkness. Writing helped save my life. Anguish, pain, disgust, shame, guilt, embarrassment all bonded together to create a new element inside of me.  A dark mass of energy and density. Each passing minute compressing the elements closer to the point of implosion.  Writing was the safety valve that released the energy.  Taking what was inside and putting it on paper.  Those emotions are still present inside of me, but their energy and density reduced to a manageable level.

The act of cutting oneself open, examining what is there and pouring the contents onto the page is magical. I have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible through this art. I know there is so much more. I know there will be more pain, reliving a past I would normally be content to leave behind.  But the fulfillment and enjoyment dictate that I must write. That I must continue to dig. When I feel I cannot dig any deeper I must find a bigger shovel. Because my guess is this where the story truly begins.

Writing is the opportunity to tell your story, whatever it may be and to take ownership of it. But the story is only ours for a short while. When we share it, when we hit publish and send it out into the world to live for eternity on a server in a data center in the middle of nowhere, that is where the magic happens. That is when the story is no longer ours, that is when it belongs to the world.

I am afraid to share this story, I am scared to hit publish. I always am, but I always hit the button. My book will be the most difficult for me to share. The pain I know it will cause.  But I will hit publish. I will take that leap.

I write for me and this is my truth.  I fear what others will say, what people will think.  If I allow those voices to creep in while I write, I will be writing for them and not myself. And what I put on these pages will be false, a polished and refined version of the truth. That is not what I want. I have only begun to dissect my inner self and already I see the power in it. Good, bad, ugly – whatever it may be, that is what I need to put on these pages.  I must be authentic.

I write this now to share the power that writing gave me. I write to share what brought me back from the darkness and near implosion.  The power of finding my art. I had to share and I want to encourage others.  The power to change is at your fingertips.

Find your art.

Find what you have to do, the thing that makes you feel empty if you don’t do it. That thing you wanted to do as a child but life got in the way.  That thing you didn’t realize was missing but now you cannot live without.

Find this for yourself. Find that which fills you from the inside.

I write in the morning, this is when I feel most creative. I wake up at six to write, I have to. Due to my current work schedule I am unable to write Saturday and Sunday.  To wake up even earlier would leave me with little sleep and I would be of no use to anybody, particularly myself. I feel incomplete on those days, I feel empty. I cannot wait for Monday to come so that I can once again write. The ideas and words that have been pent-up all weekend come on like a summer thunderstorm, powerful and beautiful.

Find your art. It doesn’t matter what it is, it doesn’t matter if there is more than one thing. Cooking, painting, carpentry, public speaking, helping others, playing an instrument.

Whatever. Find it. Do it. Embrace it. Never let it go.

Once you find your art there is a second step.  This may be the most critical piece of the equation. It is the scariest.  The one that so many of us stop at, the one that fills us with fear. The piece that makes the magic happen and brings the cycle full circle:

Share it. Share whatever it is with somebody, honestly anybody.  Just share it.

“When something scares me there is magic on the other side.”

-Kamal Ravikant

Love to cook? Have friends over. Love to paint? Set up a gallery in your home and have friends over for an opening.  Play an instrument at open mic night.

Walk to the edge of the cliff and look. Not down into the abyss that you think lies beneath you. Look up, look out, look behind you to see how far you have come.  And as tempting as that firm ground behind you is, you know you don’t want to go back.

You have to take action. You have to take that leap into the abyss. The abyss you think is made of fear, rejection, and judgement.  Once you leap you realize it is none of those, but rather a wide open blue sky of opportunities.  We worry about failure and rejection. The very act of leaping off of the cliff negates rejection and destroys failure.

You took the leap. That is what counts. That is the moment your courage gives you wings. The words of others mean nothing, your actions are all that matter. If you are true to yourself and share your story, your art, your creation, a piece of your soul you have found the magic.

Finding your art fills you from the inside. The need for external circumstances to impact your happiness disappears. You are in control of your joy.

Do what you want and never thought possible. Because it is possible. Do it because you have to. You will bring light into the darkness.  The world opens when you face fear and share your art.  Opportunities abound.

You will become a better, happier person for it. Do it now. Don’t wait for a time when you will be less busy. Be honest with yourself, will that ever really happen? No.  Things aren’t going to magically change and make you less busy. Find the time. It is not selfish. It is an investment in yourself that pays endless dividends to you and everyone around you.

I love writing. Quite frankly I don’t know if I’m any good at it. Nor does it matter. It lights me up and brings me joy.  I feel complete.  Writing makes me better at life. This isn’t about doing it for the money or for anybody else.  Do it for the person who matters most.

You.

Craig

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