Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. – Andy Warhol
Once upon a time, back when Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were but twinkles in their entrepreneurs’ eyes, blogging was the thing. It was the way for regular-folk-like-me to connect online. So, about six months after I gave birth to my first child in 2004, I joined the blogworld. As a stay-at-home-parent I was feeling isolated, and blogging proved to be a terrific way to interact with others. Then, for reasons that I’m too tired to detail here, I shut it down two years later.
So why again? is what I’ve been asking myself. Why write at all? And for me, the more important question: why share it with the public-at-large?
In regards to why I write, period: I recently wondered aloud to the hubs about the possibility of penning a novel. What if I did all that work – weeks and months and years of writing and editing – and never landed a publishing deal? He responded, “But you would have written a novel!” And I replied, “But all that work?!” And then he said something like, “You write for the experience alone, Jana…for the sake of creating.” To which I said, “Whuh?” (That’s a blending of the words “what” and “huh”.)
But it’s true. We humans were created to create. If we’re created in the image of a Creator (that is, if you believe that sort of thing…and I do), it makes sense that the world is populated with millions of creators. And that means we all – ALL – have the capacity to create. Some of us create stories. Some of us create music or visual art. Some of us create meals, structures, machines, medicine, order, laughter, hope, peace, a loving home, the inspiration to learn, a feeling of security, a soft place to fall.
And so, I write because I enjoy creating. I love words. I love using the written word to process my thoughts, my everyday life and Life. To borrow from Eric Liddell, the central character of the movie Chariots of Fire: “…when I write I feel God’s pleasure!”
The second question baffles me a bit more. Why do I write and then put it out there? Well…why does anyone do anything??? (Profound, I know.) Why do people jump out of airplanes? Or climb mountains? Or work for decades painting the ceiling of a chapel or pursuing a cure for illness? Because something pushes them to? Because it’s on their heart, with no real explanation? Because it makes them feel alive?
I love the connection sharing my work with others has brought me. I like when I post something on Facebook and someone replies with “I needed to hear that today” or “me too”. I like knowing my words have traveled from a little corner of my home into theirs and made them feel less alone.
But just this week, this epiphany: I share my work because it helps me confront fear head-on. When you write your heart onto a piece of paper or paint it onto a canvas or use it to inspire a classroom of students or prepare a holiday dinner from scratch, there will be people who are not impressed. When you put your heart on display, people start reacting. Some will love you to pieces, no questions asked. Some may feel more guarded in their reaction but still respond graciously and with understanding. Some will stomp all over you. And some will never acknowledge it at all. For me, that last one’s the worst. Because you don’t know what they’re thinking. Maybe they see themselves in you but they’re afraid to say so. Maybe they think you’re whining. Maybe they think you’re annoying. Maybe it’s your parents. Or the guy you just started dating. Or the colleague down the hall. Or someone you don’t even know but feel the curious need to impress. And when they ignore you – when they don’t acknowledge that you’ve made the very scary move of putting your heart out there – it feels like rejection. The idea of rejection and aloneness scares me.
But I keep coming back around to this: I write out my heart because I was made to write, like Eric was made to run, like Andy was made to paint cans of Campbell’s Soup. I put it out there because maybe it gives one person some hope, or at the very least, a laugh. I put it out there because I’m trying to practice bravery in the face of fear and potential rejection, hoping to grow my Courage. And maybe, just maybe, that sharing-of-creation has a ripple effect…and the Courage spreads to my relationships, to speaking up in a crowd, to attempting other adventurous ventures, to feeling less terrified of rejection, to placing my importance in the Love of my Creator and not in the opinions of a billion other creators.
Why am I blogging again? I was created to create…and to live free of fear. Good enough reasons for this girl.