True and Important?

I am a big fan of Seth Godin’s newsletters. There are always gems in his postings. Here is one that I read and re-read:

Just because you don’t understand it

…doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

…doesn’t mean it isn’t important.

If we spend our days ignoring the things we don’t understand (because they must not be true and they must not be important) all we’re left with is explored territory with little chance of improvement.

Sometimes, I am not sure that what I am writing is true or important in a general sense. Writing helps me to understand what is important and what is true for me. This leads me to unexplored territory, that landscape that leads me to my True Self.

Why “unexplored territory”? Mostly, because as a work-in-progress, there are always areas of my emotional, intellectual, and mental processes that morph. There are terrains that I am familiar with and / or comfortable with (You can’t have unexplored territory without knowing that there is something out there, after all).

Is this true and important, this exploration of, seeking for, my True Self? For me, it is. As an educator, coach, writer, person on the planet, I am in constant dialogue with others personally and professionally. In these conversations, we often indicate the importance of knowing where the other is coming from. It is also essential to know where I am coming from.

Why do I teach, write, coach, or do any of the other things that bring me joy, keep me in contact with others, or help me to better understand the world and myself? That is an ongoing exploration and it is important to know what is true for me.

Inner Critic

Sometimes you simply run into things that you need to read at this moment, you know? Today, I needed to gain some insight into my inner critic. Now, I’m sure you have your own inner critic, so you have an idea who I’m talking about. My inner critic is the voice that tells me that I have to write perfectly or I’m simply not good enough to call myself a writer.

The inner critic is vague about what “perfectly” means. Therefore, she sees flaws in everything I produce. Her message seems to be: “Whatever you write, it will never be good enough for anyone else to read but me. And I think everything you write sucks.”

Sigh!

In his blog post Facing the inner critic, Seth Godin writes:

[The inner critic is] living right next to our soft spot, the (very) sore place where we store our shame, our insufficiency, our fraudulent nature. And he knows all about it, and pokes us there again and again.

Godin provided a link to Steve Chapman’s Tedx Talk titled This talk isn’t very good. Dancing with my inner critic. Chapman offers creative approaches to those inevitable encounters with that inevitable presence. Check it out.

Both Godin and Chapman suggest that we stop resisting the inner critic. This gives her more power than is warranted. Look her in the eye, see her for what she is, and keep creating.

So as I was writing today, I listened to my inner critic’s voice just long enough to realize that I did need to change a phrase or a word to make a paragraph clearer, to let my intention emerge.

Creativity is much more fluid when the inner critic is present but not in charge.

Keep writing!

Joy in Creativity?

I subscribe to a couple of – okay, several – blogs.

Seth Godin’s is my favorite because he writes pithy pieces containing useful ideas. I don’t always agree with him, but I always read what he has to say.
 
In “You’ve arrived,” Seth writes:
There’s no division between the painful going and the joyous arriving. If we let it, the going can be the joyful part.
It turns out that arrival isn’t the point, it can’t be, because we spend all our time on the journey.
 
I take this to mean that going and arriving are so intimately connected, there is no point in trying to separate them. The journey is the point.
 
Where are you going in your writing or other creative expressions? Do you receive joy from the process? Or is joy suspended in anticipation of the product to come?
 
I am exploring these questions this evening.
 
What about you? Do you take joy in your creativity?