There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all ofMartha Graham, modern dancer and choreographer
time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”
One of my favorite pastimes is to browse bookstores and public libraries. I happily spend hours lost in the stacks of books, following whatever obsession has caught my mind recently. I read voraciously, drinking books like water. From literary novels to scifi to romance to chick lit to biography and essays and nonfiction on a variety of subjects, I read it all. I read for escape, and I read to learn, and I read to find my way. I look for my path in other people’s experiences. I love glimpses into other other worlds, both literally in science fiction and metaphorical, in memoir.
Sometimes, though, when I enter a bookstore instead of inspiration, I find despair. There are so very many books, and none of them tell my story. More than that, none of them are my book. The only thing I love more than reading is writing. I could happily spend every single moment of my life scribbling away in a notebook or pecking at the computer. I’ve written stories ever since I could write… but just writing for myself isn’t enough. I long to be published. To see my books on the shelves of libraries and stores. I want that broader reach, to have other women who have gone through similar experiences find some relief in knowing that they are not alone.
You might ask how many rejection letters I have amassed. The answer? None. Not because I have a huge publishing deal in the works, but because I have yet to submit anything I’ve written. Novels languish on hard drives, more personal stories on blogs and in paper diaries. I doubt and second guess myself. I hold my (unedited) manuscripts up to comparison with published books.
I was reading “This Messy, Magnificent Life” by Geneen Roth and discovered the quote above. Slowly, I am realizing that I have been blocking this unique energy that can move through me. While someone else might write a book with a similar plot, no one will write exactly what I have.
More broadly, in all the world there is no one else like each of us. We are singular and unique. You might not have a novel in you, but instead a song, a painting, a dance, a poem, a child, a business. While someone else might create each of these things, no one will create exactly what you would. If we keep ourselves small and afraid of being seen, the world will lose out on our offerings.
Let’s not allow this to happen. Share your creations with the world and let yourself shine.
If you’d like help as you walk this path, please reach out to me – I’d love to work with you.