Creativity Takes Courage

Tapping into our creativity, and living creatively expressive lives, is magical, fun, delightful, sexy, vibrant, joyful and juicy. That doesn't mean it isn't also scary, at times.

A while ago, I had a client who was working on a screenplay. I'd been working with her over a number of months and she was starting to freeze up. Our sessions on the phone would go wonderfully and then during the week...she somehow wouldn't get to the small steps she set for herself. 

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    On this particular day, after a few weeks of going around and around, we finally got to the heart of the matter. "I'm afraid to write the bad guys," she said. There was a little note of awe in her voice, as there often is when our own deepest truths are revealed to us. "I didn't know it was fear that was blocking me."

    "Let's pause there for a minute," I said. "Let's explore this." 

    I knew that moment needed to be opened up, because I've been there too. Both in my writing, and also in my regular old life, circling around and around and around because to take a step forward felt too. blinking. scary. take a step forward felt too. blinking. scary.

    To take a step forward would be to risk finding out I might be a bad guy myself. Maybe I'd recognize a little too much of myself in their choices and acts. Maybe the awful things they say would turn out to be things I've thought myself. Maybe my truth would cause other people pain and grief. Maybe it would turn out I wasn't the kind, thoughtful, gentle person I was trying to be. 

    We fear we secretly are the bad guy. We fear we may become the bad guy if we spend too much time (or any time at all) considering those hard, dark, painful, true places. 

    And until we're willing to risk it, we can't move forward. In life, or in our screenplays, novels, paintings, poems, and businesses. 

    Roll up your sleeves and go after your fear. 

    image credit: Jeff Lemond, from Unsplash

    image credit: Jeff Lemond, from Unsplash

    Here's the secret, not so secret solution (and what I shared with my client that day, after she had talked through her own fear and resistance): roll up your sleeves and go after your fear. Hunt it down. Find those bad guys, those scary places. Wrestle them to the wall, look them in the eye and tell them to spill it. All of it. Their worst desires, their most brutish acts, their whole, painful history. Find their vulnerability. See it for your own. Feel it for your own. 

    It's when we face the scary stuff, when we stop resisting it, that we gain mastery of it. If we can write it, paint it, sing it, get it out into the open air, then we can walk away from it too, knowing we're bigger than that. We're more complicated than just "good" or "bad." We're a messy patchwork of both, all mixed up together in marvelous, unique patterns. 

    And yes, that takes courage. That's why en-courage-ment is a large part of what we do around here. Because while it is your journey and no one can do it for you, it helps to have a few trusted friends along for the ride. 

    Sarah Sadie3 Comments