Writing takes courage. It is an act of bravery to share your ideas with others. Writing means facing your own demons and fears, talking back to the voices in your head and defying them daily. It takes courage to take the seed of an idea, nurture it for a months and sometimes years, unsure of what the end result will be or if you can bring it to completion.
Putting Yourself Out There…Literally
Neil Gaiman said in his MasterClass course that, to be a writer, you have to be willing to do the equivalent of walking down the street naked.
Anyone that has ever birthed a book and released it into the world knows how true that statement is. You hand over this thing that you have worked so hard on for so long, that has so much of your naked heart spread out on the page. And then you wait.
Do they like it? Did they get it? Were they entertained? Did they laugh and cry along with my characters? Do they think about the world differently because of what I wrote?
That kind of openness takes immense courage. Every writer that I know is keenly aware that to write honestly, to write truly, means that the reader has an open invitation to walk the hallways of the author’s heart and mind. They may not understand everything they see, but the moment they pick up your book, they have opened the door and stepped inside because you gave them the key.
2020 Was A Year Of Courage
This past year required courage of all types, from everyone. It required the courage to adapt as well as the willingness to modify behavior patterns. Learning how to be alone was a challenge for some. We had to discover new ways to maintain social interaction. Family life, daily routines, even our jobs all underwent adjustments in light of COVID.
For me, it was also a year of courage as writing professional. I found myself confronted with choices I never would have imagined having to make at the beginning of 2020.
Choices to Move On
When I commit to something, I’m very much all in. I’m an Aquarius. We like groups. Being part of something gives me a sense of purpose and place. When I’m attached to a project, it often gets the lion’s share of my efforts because community is important to me. Discovering something I had invested a lot of time in was neither helpful to my career professionally or healthy for me personally was a difficult realization. The choice to move on and do what was right for me was even harder. It resulted in lost relationships, some of which I still miss. Would I do it again? Without question. When your goddess says, “It’s time to go”, you don’t talk back.
Choices to Be Open
This year, I took a step into the open with my spiritual practice. I’ve hovered on the threshold of the Broom Closet for a long time. Living in the South, there is still quite a bit of prejudice against people with alternative spiritualities. One thing my writing efforts in 2020 brought me was the opportunity to help guide and mentor others in something I have practiced for over 30 years. Even so, that choice to be open, knowing the potential risks, took courage. I’m sure there will still be fallout from that choice, but I have the right and the responsibility to be who I am, without apologies.
Choices to Start Something New
With the courage to end comes the courage to begin. After freeing up the time I was investing elsewhere, I discovered I had the opportunity to undertake other projects, other places to express my talent. Some of these are writing, some of them are not. So, these little acts of courage are seeds for bigger acts of courage later. I’m excited, though, and looking forward to putting these out there in 2021.
How Were You Courageous This Year?
Take some time to review your victories in 2020. Look at the fears you stared down and the battles you won. What are some of the ways you were naked before the world? Comment below or just take a moment to do a bit of reflective journaling here on the cusp of the new year.
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