One of the interesting parts of my work, and the work of anyone who works for themself, is sharing it with the world, marketing it. You can create a beautiful offering, but if you don’t let people know about it you’ll be the only one at the party.
This is what I was thinking about a few mornings ago as I debated whether to share a new Wild Writing program I’d just created. The day before we’d all witnessed the spectacle of madness outside of the Capital building, and if you were like me, that was all you were thinking about.
Still, for weeks I’d been preparing to launch this offering I was excited to share with people, and now I wasn’t sure if it were the right thing to do, whether it was tone deaf when all sorts of dark craziness had been unleashed into the world. There were more important things to focus on than creating a writing practice.
I remember at the beginning of the pandemic, days after being told to shelter in place, I was getting the same emails I got all the time from clothing companies trying to sell me jeans, or furniture companies trying to sell me living room sectionals. There were discounts on skin cream and hair products, and I was like, what the hell, people, really? There’s an invisible virus out there and you want me to think about my skin?
One thing that matters to me very much is paying attention to the world around me … I want my work to be a life raft in the midst of the storm. I want my work to help people process their lives on the page with depth, honesty and integrity. I don’t want to sell you a new t-shirt.
At the same time, in a world that is rife with trouble, how do we share our work without being tone deaf to more pressing matters like the virus, or the reaction of Washington police on a crowd of mostly white people who stormed the Capital, not to mention a dangerous president holed up in his office for two more weeks.
I struggled around it, consulted friends. “What would you do?” I asked them.
Then yesterday I got an email from my friend, the photographer and coach, Danielle Cohen, with the subject line:
What do we post when the world is a mess?
Her email is addressed to all of us who have things to share, whether that means our art work or our music, our writing or our teaching.
“Do we shut it all down knowing that relative to what’s happening at the moment, our offerings are not the thing to center?” “Do we show up as planned knowing that our offerings add beauty, healing, hope, and strength to a hurting world?”
I loved her courage to move right into the question. And it’s personal, of course. There’s no right answer here.
“Our work is to stay awake,” Danielle writes. “To thoughtfully, bravely, and sometimes clumsily continue to find our place in things.”
I loved this. I loved everything she wrote. As a maker of things, it always takes courage keep moving forward – no matter what’s going on in the world, but even better if what you’re creating might be helpful to people.
I like t-shirts, but I don’t make them. I make life rafts that are meant to help us process our lives with depth, honesty and curiosity. I mean to build life rafts that are strong enough to ferry us across the deep waters, so that when we are on the other side of this thing, we’ll be together, deeply connected to ourselves and to one another.
I send you peace, and I welcome you into my little boat.
I’m giving away a week-long sample of my Wild Writing video series to anyone who would benefit from a writing practice. Even if you aren’t a writer – and many of you aren’t – I want to offer you a very beautiful, deeply healing writing practice called Wild Writing, that enables you to get a lot of ink on the page and tell your stories with ease and grace. We specialize in getting past the critical mind – something we have lost our taste for this year because it’s tiresome and it doesn’t serve us. Please join us!
* thank you to my friend Jen Lee, who offered me the image of the life raft.