Do you feel unsure about pursuing the thing that makes you come alive? You know, THAT thing. The art project, dream, act of creation, innovation, transformation, or expression of love? Well, to lend you some extra courage in your pursuit, here's what happened to me the year following the release of my first book.
On January 31st 2019, I'd finished work on the manuscript for The Creative Wound. As I hovered the mouse cursor over the 'publish' button, I felt like a kid who'd climbed to the top of the diving board with all his friends watching and who was suddenly uncertain if jumping was such a great idea. But I'd come too far not to.
Hitting the water causes a splash, but once it is over, the outward ripples continue. They're calmer and far more subtle than the initial impact, but always expanding, reaching, and you can never retract them once they're on their way. It's these gentle undulations in outlying places that have led to magical things happening.
The year I risked doing something different
Without releasing a book, none of these things would have happened in the 12 months that followed.
1. NEW AND MEANINGFUL WORK WITH AMAZING PEOPLE
I've established friendships with remarkable individuals around the world and have been invited to contribute to the work they're doing. These include:
The INF Summit (A virtual summit for INFJs, INFPs and all intuitive introverts), with Lauren Sapala and Jas Hothi: www.infsummit.com
Serenity In The Trenches (Find Self-Acceptance and True Belonging When Things Around You Feel Like They are Falling Apart) with Andy Mort: the-haven.co/trenches
Interviews such as this one with the wonderful Ritu Kaushal on Walking Through Transitions blog: https://bit.ly/2GKGW4t
Of course, there are so many people who have done far more than I have, but it is healthy to celebrate that some very good things have happened. And it is also to highlight that YOUR creative work can make a difference, too.
2. EMAILS, CONVERSATIONS & REVIEWS
I'd never written a book before. I had no guarantees this whole thing would work. What if someone reads it? What if nobody reads it?
I'd not aimed it at everyone, but for creatively wounded individuals in particular, and as this tribe found my book they heard their own voice echoed in mine. I know this because they've told me, and I've enjoyed some incredibly meaningful conversations with people from the great nations of the UK, USA, Australia, India, Sweden, Finland and Yorkshire.
ANDY MORT, The Gentle Rebel podcast
Here is what people have said:
“I haven’t read a book that shook me up this much since The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.”
“I loved, loved, LOVED this book. Utterly awed.”
“I read the The Creative Wound from cover to cover in one sitting (something I never do) then did the same again the next day! I could feel my self confidence regenerating as I turned each page. A totally absorbing read that helped me believe in me.”
“Reading this book has been directly instrumental in my recovery as a creative person.”
“I have just finished reading The Creative Wound and wanted to say thank you. It has been a thought-provoking, encouraging, compassionate, kick up the artistic back-side for me, humbly delivered with kindness. Thank you for sharing so honestly and insightfully. It has been truly helpful and inspiring!”
“Handles a vulnerable topic with gentleness and respect.”
“Such a positive, life-giving book.”
LAUREN SAPALA Author & Writing Coach
3. CREATIVITY WORKSHOPS & ONE-TO-ONE COACHING
Having read The Creative Wound, a number of people have been motivated to take action and have asked if I'd help. As a result, I've been privileged to work with groups and individuals, and seen people experience restored wholeness and confidence in relation to their creative world.
Here is what people have said:
“Engaging, interactive and catalysing of creative thinking. So good.”
“Safe, unintimidating and fun.”
“My friend was reluctant to come but thrilled that she did.”
“As someone who doesn't consider herself as creative, the visuals and questions were brilliantly helpful.”
“I got a lot from what you have to share. You have a generous heart.”
None of this has happened because I'm some kind of superior genius, but because I refused to let doubt and fear stop me from creating something meaningful and letting it have a life of its own outside of my control.
If you are brave enough to let your art live, it will surprise you. It will rejuvenate and revive you when you need it most. When your art connects with the right people at the right time, special things happen. And don't worry if most people don't understand it, or ignore it altogether. Your work isn't for the masses, anyway. You were never supposed to be average.
All this leaves me wondering – just how far could the ripples of your art reach?