Elizabeth Gilbert says, creativity is waiting to see who is going to show up to work with it because it wants and needs to believe us trustworthy of doing the work of showing up no matter what.
Most of the time, I consider myself trustworthy. But here’s a confession: some nights I enjoy my reward before I show up to write or I don’t show up at all. I may say I don’t feel inspired, but truth is, it’s up to me to create the inspiration I need, not the other way around.
If it’s been a series of long days with appointments and activities and parenting my girls through the snares of their relationship, reminding them to walk away when necessary, I want to fall onto my couch and do little of anything that requires something of me. I don’t feel inspired; I feel lazy.
In other words, writing is the last thing I want to do, even though it’s the thing I crave throughout the day. Does that make sense to anyone else?
Writing is something I crave for its wonder and its way of creating stories. It allows me to follow complete strangers around without my being creepy. But writing is hard work. Creating is not without its difficulties. Inspiration isn’t a given.
And when I’m tired? The motivation to show up is bare bones if it’s there at all. That’s my moment of truth. Will I show up even though I don’t feel inspired? Will I work on something — explore a story, play with words, lean into my creativity — or will I give into the resistance and put on a movie or scroll aimlessly through Facebook or YouTube?
In other words, will I indulge in dessert before dinner?
To be honest, sometimes I choose only the dessert — the scrolling, the movie, the easy path with no resistance. But most of the time, I show up, even if it’s for dinner after dessert. Because showing up matters to me. It matters to my creativity and to my stories and to my being true to who I am designed to be.
It matters to the creativity that is waiting to see if I am trustworthy. So I show up.
Even so, every time I show up, I am like lego guy in this photo. I’m panicked, afraid the words will elude me and I will stare at a blank screen and produce nothing at all. I’m afraid the words will suck (and sometimes they do). I’m afraid this is a ridiculous pursuit.
But that’s why I continue to show up.
I show up to prove myself (and the lego figure inside me) wrong. I show up because I know the words will come if I am brave enough to show up. They may come slowly, like a slow leak from a kitchen faucet; but they will come. And even if they aren’t the words that will stay, they serve a purpose.
Writing is sometimes a pouring out of words onto the page to allow me to know my characters or feel my way through a story until I uncover a scene, a snippet of dialogue, or, perhaps, one single moment.
It’s messy. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing.
And it’s about showing up. It’s about showing myself trustworthy. It’s about creating inspiration and writing through the resistance. Because I consider myself designed for just such a time as this.