A teacher of environmental biology asks her two questions at the start of each semester. “Do you love nature?” Yes, of course. Every hand is raised.
“Do you believe that nature loves you in return?” Not a single earnest academic was going to be caught dead admitting to something so… pagan.
Elizabeth Gilbert tells this story in Big Magic to prove that we have a right to be in conversation with Mother Earth, with creativity, with whatever great superhuman force we happen to love.
I keep coming back to Liz’s idea when I secretly reread the stories I have written over the first month of this #365StrongStories project. The way these pieces flow through me and the streams of information and experience rush on, even the post from a few days ago can take me by surprise.
It’s fashionable to bemoan the narcissism of the age. All those selfies we take proves that we’re self-obsessed, right? When I admit that I go back and look at my own work and smile when there’s so much other worthy content to consume… does that prove I have some 21st century sickness?
I don’t think so. Instead, it feels like I am giving my creations a chance to love me back.
You know what it takes to write something that feels worthy of publishing. And you know how hard it is to connect to the reader, even when you’re pouring your best into a post. There’s no guarantee the right people will see what you write and that they’ll have their thumbs prepared to send a response that assures you all the hard work was worth it.
Based on my experiences telling my own Strong Stories, this is my invitation to you: do the work (at your own rate) - the thinking, the writing, the posting, the publicizing. Then, ask those words to love you back when you revisit them.
I never really believed that you need to write for yourself first. Not when I was so desperate to be seen and validated. But finally, I’ve arrived at a place where I give myself permission to stop and see myself and recognize what I’ve made… That’s the nature of real creative magic.