Falling In Love With Yourself Through Your Art (and a 10-day writing challenge)
Fall in love with your life, and fall in love with your work! As a creative soul, how can you expect others to respect your work, and fall in love with it, if you as the creator look at through the eyes of fear?
February is the month of love, right? Flowers. Candy. Valentine's Day. That's what love is all about, right? If you are single, this month might be a challenge for us to get through without a few eye rolls at your friends who are so in love, or a few tears over not finding that yourself...
...Or, if you are anything like me, you spend time torturing yourself with sappy love songs and replays of Noah's letter to Allie from The Notebook (yeah, I admitted it).
We spend so much of our time focusing on finding "the one." As writers, we have an entire genre devoted to it. We create that perfect vision of the one we want to fall in love with. Or the character we want our readers to fall for.
So much time is spent looking outside of ourselves for love that we forget that we need to look inward and find the things that make us, well, love ourselves. It's so easy to look to others to validate you - how you look, how you dress, how smart you are. We want everyone else to validate our goals and dreams, tell us they are okay to pursue. When they try to give us advice on how to get there, we take it in a heartbeat, thinking they must know better...
...because we feel so bad about ourselves inside, that we let ourselves believe that someone else's opinion matters more than our own. If they think that we are something special, well, then they must have the secret to getting our dreams to come true.
For me...I know I spend a lot of time doing this...and have spent a lot of time trying to undo it, too (oh, boy is the latter part a challenge). Guess what? It sucks.
When I started writing, I was so afraid to talk about my work.
Too afraid to talk about my message.
Too afraid to talk about my goals for writing the book in the first place.
In the writing process, I even held myself back from writing as much as I wanted in the story, for fear that my life would be hanging out there for the world to judge.
Once it published, I sat on it, too afraid to really promote it. Too afraid to let others know it was out there in the world.
Then, I realized something...
I was still too stuck in my head, worrying about everyone else, that I forgot about my message and mission for writing in the first place. I was too hung up on the fact that my book is pretty much me, hanging my dirty-laundry past out there for the world, and I believed that everyone else would judge it as me looking for a pity party, when I knew I was writing it to help other people feel less alone in their lives.
In the process of me feeling so afraid, I kept myself, and my work hidden from the world. Once I let myself get tired of feeling so sick and tired of feeling stuck, I had to get honest with myself and go about this a totally different way.
I asked myself...
Was I loving myself enough to let myself explore myself as an author?
Was I loving myself enough to let myself explore what it felt like to create and share my work?
Was I loving myself enough to learn what I needed to learn to sell and promote my work?Was I loving myself enough to see it through, no matter where the journey took me?
Could I accept myself as a creative individual, without requiring anyone else to validate the work, or my dreams as an author?
At the time, my answers were a big fat NO. Then someone close to me recommended I read my work again, as the reader. Suddenly, my words were heard through a different set of ears - the ears of someone still feeling suck, lost, and alone in her life - and I was reminded that I had a choice to make...
...I didn't need to continue feeling so powerless in my life.
As a creative, I knew I was sharing my work for a purpose. If I didn't love myself, or my journey, enough to honor my work, how could anyone else? If I didn't see the journey for what it was, and learn from it, how could I expect readers to do the same?
Here is what I know now...
No matter who we are in the world, we all deserve love. The most important kind of love is the love we give to ourselves - how we accept ourselves; whether we allow ourselves to show up as our authentic version of who we are, and not who others want us to be; how we take care of ourselves, mind, body, and soul; and how we hold our boundaries (or not).
If you don't love yourself enough first, as a person...
How can you love yourself as a creative individual, trying to share their work in the world?
And if you don't love yourself as a creative soul, how can you love the work you put into the world?
And, if you don't love the work, how can anyone else?
You know you love to create. You know you are committed to sharing your work with the world. You don't have to be afraid of sharing it, promoting it, talking about it.
And it gets so much easier to love the process, and love the work itself, when you love and respect yourself!
So, for this month, the move of love, I am putting out a little writing challenge that honors us as people. It's a 10-day challenge, intended to get you into your heart. Write a paragraph, or a novel - however long you want to write about each topic. The goal is to make it about you - your life, what's in you heart, what you love about your life.
10-Day Writing Challenge
Five blessings in your life
Something you struggle with (turn it into a positive)
Your first love
How to win your heart
Your favorite word
An adventure (in your mind or one you would like to take)
"What if..." (complete the sentence in a way that shows yourself some love)
The best advice you ever received
Something that makes you excited
Ten things that make you really happy
We'd love for you to share it with us over on social media. Tag us on Instagram (@marchforthmediaco) and show us how you are honoring your heart, and your creative process, this month.
You are never stuck. You are never lost. You are never alone. At any given moment, you can use your power to pivot, make a new choice, and start again. That power to pivot, that choice, is as simple as loving yourself to go down a new path.
To your journey, march forth!
All the love,
P.S. If you know that self-love is a part of your journey where you need some help, I totally understand. How do you get started loving yourself? I have a Self-Love Mini Workbook that I am giving away for FREE to point you in the right direction. Click here to be added to the list and I will send it over to you ASAP.