Since I was small, I’ve changed my dream of what I wanted to be when I grew up many times over.
Teacher. Dancer. Veterinarian. Model. Singer/ musician. Artist. Architect.
Linguist/ translator. Business owner. Mom. Psychologist. Writer. Life-long student. Yogi.
As I looked around, everyone else seemed to be able to pick their paths so easily. I was both happy for them and a little jealous at the same time.
Making the choice of what to do with my life was like being given a box of colors and being asked to pick one color for the rest of my life. But I wanted all the colors. I wanted all the dreams, or at least as many of them as possible. I would write out versions of my life-dreams in my journal at night before I drifted off to sleep.
I admit I got a slower start on the pursuit of my dreams than others, but speed isn’t what mattered. What mattered was finding my path and sticking to it.
So I tried the lives on one at a time, like a pair of shoes. I would walk around them in a while, and found some of them didn’t fit, but I found many that did fit. Perhaps not as a profession, but they became pieces of my life that made it rich and meaningful.
Some people around me didn’t understand my multifaceted interests. To this day, people tell me “pick something that you can make good money in.” I internally shrug, knowing that money alone won’t bring me happiness.
Happiness is found by living an authentic life.
As I found the pieces of my life that fit with who I was and who I am today, I saw a common thread in my callings: creating.
>> As a teacher: I create learning opportunities with others.
>>As a dancer: I create expressive movement with my body.
>>As a singer: I create sound that conveys different emotions.
>>As an artist: I create works that describe parts of life I see around me.
>>As a writer: I create stories that connect people.
>>As a life-long student: I create a rich depth of knowledge.
>>As a yogi: I create an innerconnectedness, mindfulness, and peace.
>>As a mom: I’ve created life itself.
Most of all, I’m grateful for my call as a writer, because writing has become a part of my soul.
My words unravel my problems, help me understand myself, and give me a voice.
I remember when I was a teen I’d write the usual angsty teen girl poetry about how the world was so unfair and no one really understood me. Oh yeah, brooding stuff. I would curse in my poems because they were words I wasn’t allowed to utter aloud:
Damn f*cking b*tch, such a bloody witch
I would like to make a switch with that b*tch.
(Note: I don’t actually know where any of my remnants of any of my teenage poems are, but trust me, they were epically bad.)
While the poems were bad, the writing still created a healthy way to get out my emotions without actually harming anyone. My writing has helped me get through some hard sh*t: my parents’ divorce, abuse, a faith transition, mental health issues, my divorce.
Writing created my place of safety and wonder. Through refining my writing process and understanding the purpose behind my writing, I’ve been able to connect with others.
It’s been healing for me and helped others know that they’re not so alone, which is the most rewarding part to me.
It’s also helped me learn some things about what it means to be an artist and how generally to carpe diem. The following are three lessons that writing has taught me.
1. Life is dedicated to my craft. I’m entrenched in the wondrous world that resides in my brain. I try to write at least 15 minutes every day. After I get my yoga in, I lie on my mat or bed and put my pen to paper. Later on in the week, I transfer the pieces onto my computer.
2. Work f*cking hard. As an artist, I tear apart my creation many times over to get it just right. Sometimes when I start the process, I don’t even know quite where I’m going with it. Other times I know exactly where I’m going, but then get derailed. And sometimes I actually stay on course.
3. Do what calls to the deep parts of the heart. I make and create because life without creating would be only a shell. Creating and writing help me express myself and to tell my story and the stories of others. I believe that by sharing stories, we learn lessons from segments of humanity that otherwise we may miss.
May these lessons on writing be of benefit to all creators, whatever their craft.
Author: Lindsay Lock Butler
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Callie Rushton