creativity

So yes, I’m writing a book…

Have you ever heard the one that goes a little something like this:

There once was a man who used to pray to God every night that he would win tattslotto. He would get down on his knees, look up at the sky and beg God, please God please, let me win tattslotto. And then one night God answered. His big voice boomed down a reply from the heavens above and do you know what he said? Help me out here man, buy a ticket. Ha!

I’ve realised recently that I’ve had exactly the same attitude towards becoming writing a book. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write a book and have that book published. But you see, to make that happen, I would first actually have to write a book. Seems obvious right? Well yes, it is, yet it’s something that I have yet to do, or even give a go really. I mean there was that one (rather feeble) attempt last year for NaNoWriMo but apart from that, my book has been nothing more than an idea, a dream, for many, many years.

So last week, I decided I’ve had enough of waiting, enough of the excuses (enough of praying to God if you will) it was finally time to take action and write the damn book. I announced it on social media; not because I wanted people to pat me on the back, say well done or offer any type of congratulations (though I did get that, which was lovely). No, I actually posted it for accountability. Because I know now that I’ve put it out there people might just ask me from time to time ‘hey, how’s that book of yours going?’ and I want to be able to give an answer that doesn’t entail me looking down at my feet, shrugging and offering some lame excuse as to why I have done anything about it.

Anyone who has read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert would know of her theory about creative ideas having a life of their own. The concept being that ideas find their way and attach themselves to people and if you don’t do anything with those ideas they will move on to someone else. She provides a (quite amazing) story about this great idea for a book she once had that she began to research but then gave up on and never wrote. Years later, another author wrote that book. The exact same story she had planned to write. The concept of the book was very specific, very unique and Liz had never shared the idea; there was no way this other writer could’ve have ‘stolen’ or copied the idea. The thought of that happening to me and my book idea actually scares the crap out of me (wouldn’t I just kick myself if that happened) and has been the final motivation I needed to get started.

So yes, I’m writing a book and it turns out it’s nothing like the book I have always thought I might write. It’s a young adult (YA) fantasy/sci fi…I don’t even really read sci fi, it’s never particularly been my thing, yet there it is. I think I’ve tried for many ideas to ‘come up’ with an idea for a great book and it’s always felt a bit forced. But this one? Well it’s just like Elizabeth Gilbert says; it seems to have a life of its own and has just come to me, out of nowhere and it just keeps coming, shifting and shaping…and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

So yes, I’m writing a book.

What have you been up to lately? Ever attempted to write a book? Ever wanted to?

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On Being a Hummingbird

the flight of the hummingbird elizabeth gilbert, www.sarahdipity.com.au

The other week my life coach sent me a video to watch with the message “I just watched this and thought you would appreciate it as well.” It was a presentation by Elizabeth Gilbert (who I totally love!) titled Flight of the Hummingbird: A Curiosity Driven Life.

If you haven’t watched it, I’ll give you the basic run down. Liz started off by talking about how for the past few years she has been preaching about ’following your passion’. She’s given speeches and written books about it; hell she’s lived it. From a very young age she knew she wanted to be a writer, it’s all she ever wanted to do and she worked at it and chased that dream until it inevitably happened. And so, her message has always been ‘find your passion and live it and don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way’.

But recently, after a presentation she gave when in Australia, she received an email from a lady who was in the crowd. She told Liz that she went along to her presentation hoping to be inspired but left feeling disappointed. In fact, Liz had made her feel like crap. Why? Because this woman didn’t have a passion. She had spent many years searching, she had listened to people like Liz bang on about ‘following your passion’ and all it did was make her feel as though something was wrong with her. Because she didn’t have a passion. As she said ‘I think if I did have a passion, I would know’. She didn’t know what that thing was, that one thing that she just knew she was destined to do or be. The email caught Liz off guard and caused her to stop and reassess everything she believed, everything she’d been selling to the people for years. What if you don’t know what your passion is?

So now, she talks out against passion and instead encourages people to follow their curiosity. Liz explained it in this way; some people are jack hammers; they have this one goal that they know they want to achieve and they chip away and work hard at it, doggedly, until eventually they get there. And other people, well they are more like hummingbirds. They flit about from thing to thing, flower to flower; following whatever draws their eye or sparks their curiosity. Perhaps they don’t know what their passion is, or perhaps they have so many different passions, so many interests that they don’t quite know where to start. And the thing is, it’s ok to be a hummingbird, in fact it’s kind of awesome. And listening to Liz speak I realised, I am a hummingbird!

I’ve tried many different things in my life; different interests, courses and fads. I have started two university degrees and finished neither. I’ve had a couple of little businesses; they either failed or I just decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I have ideas, so many ideas; business ideas, book ideas, ideas that come to me in the middle of the night, or while I’m driving my car… yes I have lots of ideas. Maybe that makes me sound fickle; maybe other people roll their eyes at me and think “here she goes again…” But I don’t care. The thing is I’ve always held a steady job; I’ve worked for the same employer for over twelve years. I’ve never quit my job or moved across the country on a whim and I know that I never will. Because I’m just not that’s sort of person. I’m a practical creative (if there’s such a thing). I like to dabble and explore options on the side; I’ve never been one to put all of my eggs in one basket. I like to learn and try new things and I will stick at it until I find I’m just not enjoying it anymore and then I will stop and move onto something else. And after all the things I’ve done I have no regrets. I’ve learnt so much and I figure every time that I do something only to discover it’s not what I want to do, well, that just brings me one step closer to finding what it is that I really want to do. And besides, I would rather do all the things than do nothing at all!

So yeah, I’m a hummingbird and I’m damn ok with that!

Are you a hummingbird? Do you like to follow your curiosity? Or are you more like a jack hammer? Have you always known what you wanted to do with your life?

If you want to watch Elizabeth’s full presentation click here.

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50 Ways to Find Your Inspiration (free printable)

Ever lost your mojo? Stared at a blank computer screen or an empty notebook? All creative types face it at some point; a lack of inspiration. That’s why I’ve created this free printable 5o Ways to Find Your Inspiration. Click here to download it. Print in off, stick it on your noticeboard, your fridge, in your workspace; refer to it when you need it. Pick and choose what works for you and let inspiration come!

Find Your Inspiration, www.sarahdipity.com.au

What do you do when you’re lacking inspiration?

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Creativity and Career (AKA: My A-ha Moment)

Creativity & Career, www.sarahdipity.com.au

This post has been forming in my head for many weeks now- different ideas all swirling around but not quite coming together. It all started when I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (which I spoke a bit about here). Then I binge listened to the follow up podcast series Magic Lessons and this week I read this post by Stacey and it all kind of started to fall into place. If I was Oprah I’d say I had a series of ‘a-ha moments’. So now I’m going to try to put it all down in words, lets hope this makes some kind of sense….

I’ve always been a bit of a creative soul.  I was the type of kid who liked craft, reading, writing stories and drawing. My favourite subjects in school were English/Literature, Art and Photography. I took drama classes for many years. As an adult I’ve continued to be drawn towards the creative- jewellery making, typography, photography, and blogging/writing to name just a few of the things I’ve dabbled in.

After high school I did the ‘practical’ thing and enrolled in university to study the Bachelor of Business. A year later, feeling bored, uninspired and dealing with depression and anxiety, I dropped out. I remember the day I walked out, I went straight to the newsagents and brought a bunch of photography magazines to read on the train ride home. I knew if I was going to tell my Mum I’d dropped out of uni I needed a plan and that was it- I was going to become a photographer.

A few years (and a whole other university degree and career later) I finally did start a photography business with my sister only to shut it down a few months later. Why? Because we discovered that once we started charging people money for our work, it stopped being fun. The pressure to get the photos perfect was too much. So it turned out maybe I didn’t want to do what I thought I wanted to do after all….

It feels a bit like I’ve always been searching for something…something a little more than what I have. Not in my personal life because I have a wonderful marriage, a happy home and family life- things are pretty damn good there. I thought maybe I needed a career change and have dreamt of starting my own business; but it turns out I really didn’t want to do that either. And you know what? I actually love my job, I love the place I work for and the people I work with. There are also many different opportunities available to me there if/when I’m ready. So what’s the answer? I love writing and blogging but I have stopped and started and reinvented this blog so many times over the years because I constantly fall into the trap of comparison and thinking that if its not making me any money then it’s worthless. But then the other day it occurred to me ….creativity and career are not synonymous. They can be two totally separate things and they can exist side by side and I think for me that maybe that is answer. I don’t need to making a living from my creative pursuits, but I do want to create. I need to create, because that’s what my soul needs. I need to make the time to get back to doing that. I need to write and draw and snap pics for no other reason than because I damn well want to. Because I love it (I really do).

Does this mean I’m giving up on any grand dreams I may have? No. Of course I would still love to be recognised for my work; to publish a book (I should probably start by writing it) or have a ‘successful blog’ (whatever that is) but what I now know is this; if that never happens it doesn’t really matter. I don’t need to publish a book to be a writer, I don’t need to host an exhibition to be a photographer, I don’t need a piece of artwork hanging on a gallery wall to be an artist. I just need to do it, to do it for no other reason then because it makes me happy and to do it for no one else but me. That will be enough.

Maybe it all sounds a bit wanky; I always cringe when I read back over my own writing but whatever, it’s my truth and I’m speaking it.  Maybe Elizabeth Gilbert said it all when she wrote:

“There is a famous quote that shows up, it seems, in every single self-help book ever written: What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? But I’ve always seen it differently. I think the fiercest question of all is this one: What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail? What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant? What do you love even more than your own ego? How fierce is your trust in that love? You might challenge this idea of fierce trust. You might buck against it. You might want to punch and kick at it. You might demand of it, “Why should I go through all the trouble to make something if the outcome might be nothing?” The answer will usually come with a wicked trickster grin: “Because it’s fun, isn’t it?” Anyhow, what else are you going to do with your time here on earth — not make things? Not do interesting stuff? Not follow your love and your curiosity?”

A-ha!

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