When I first started blogging back in April, I had no idea I would connect with so many amazing writers. Today, I am pleased to host a blog from Julie Hedlund, a writer who truly inspires me with her gumption, creativity, and optimism . . .
First, a big thanks to C.B. for hosting me today. I only “met” her (in the online sense) a few months ago, but I’ve fallen head over heels with her blog. It seems like everything I think, she writes. So it is a pleasure to contribute to the blog in this small way.
Part of why I am here is to spread the word about a story I entered with a children’s e-publisher entitled, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. But it’s been a little over two weeks since the contest began and I’m so tired of listening to myself talk (or write) about it that I don’t want to belabor it more than necessary. So a quick spiel: finalists will be selected by a combination of individual votes and editorial staff judgment. I figure the more votes I have, the better my chances of catching the editor’s eye. So if you would be so kind as to click this link and if you like the story, vote for it. If you feel inclined to share it with your Facebook friends and ask them to vote, so much the better. Thanks!
Now, that out of the way I want to talk about something else that happened to me this week. For the past four months, I’ve been participating in a coaching group with Cynthia Morris called The Creative Leap Club. It’s meant for people who are launching any type of creative venture.
This Monday, we had our final call and I was lamenting that I hadn’t gotten as much done on my CLC project as I had hoped, and I blathered on and on about this contest – how promoting it had taken so much more time than I had expected and yada yada yada.
Cynthia interrupted me and said, “You don’t have to apologize. I think it’s great that you’ve taken a stand for something you’ve written.” You could replace the word “written” in that sentence with painted, sewed, composed, crafted, drawn, etc.
For a long time, I mulled over those words. I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing, but Cynthia was right. I was (and am) taking a stand.
Putting our work out into the world, much less promoting it, is the hardest part about being a writer or any artist. Each work is like a tiny soul imprint – no matter how irreverent or far removed from our public selves it may seem. How will the world react? Will they like it or hate it? Will they take this piece of my soul and crush it? (By the way, I have gotten NOTHING but positive support and encouragement as I’ve shared this story. It’s shown me how unfounded many of our fears are.)
But you know, this experience has taught me that taking a stand is just as important as creating. We don’t need to be published or earning a living from our art to be a “real” writer or artist, but we do need to create it, to believe in it, to nurture it and to praise it when praise is due. We need to send it out into the world to whatever reception it will meet. Then we need to sit back down and do it all over again.
Each time you write, you’ve taken a stand. Each time you submit to an editor or an agent, you’ve taken a stand. Each time you spread the news about a project you’re working on or have completed, you’ve taken a stand. Each time you write a blog post about your journey, you’ve taken a stand. Each time you reach out to help someone else in his or her journey, you’ve taken a stand. Each time you tell people, out loud, “I am a writer (or artist),” you’ve taken a stand.
So remember the next time you sit down at your desk to create that you’re not taking a seat. You’re taking a stand.
Julie Hedlund blogs about the writing life (and regular life) at Write Up My Life. She writes picture books, travel articles and personal essays and WILL write a novel one day. When she is not mothering, writing or reading, she enjoys running, hiking, skiing, cooking, yoga, and savoring a great glass of red wine at sunset. She especially likes to do these things while traveling.
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I highly recommend visiting Julie’s blog . . . especially on Sundays. 🙂