A bit redundant, evocative artist. What is the artists job if not to produce emotions that captivate? I was doing a great job with the completion of my book when I ran into a huge writer’s block. Since I never believed in writer’s block, dealing with it was like a non-believer living in a haunted house. No matter what I did, accept it or deny it, it would not go away. For days I stressed. Why was this happening to me?
After speaking with a friend, I slowly began to dig my way out of my writer’s block. First I told him the suspected culprit of my writer’s block. That it was possibly related to a subject I was having doubts about putting in the book. The book is a work of creative non-fiction and although I have already spattered my soul across the Blogosphere there were still things I was afraid to write about. Mainly, I worried about people being judgmental.
My friend, a talented dancer and choreographer didn’t even have to ask what it was that I was afraid to write about: he already understood what I was talking about.
“As an artist, you must bare your soul. You must put yourself out there. In dance we say, if your shy then don’t get on stage.” He was right, speaking my truth in words was very close to being on stage.
It was daunting in the beginning, but people responded the more I let my guard down.
The truth is: It’s all about honesty. As an artist I find that honesty has been the single most useful tool in my creative productivity. After publicly speaking about being raped, people responded to my articles because they had similar life experiences. Many people contacted me to tell me that hearing me speak out about what happened to me gave them courage to face their own traumatic experiences that had been plaguing them for years. A few people told me they admired my courage.
I never thought of myself as courageous, but did think that being referred to as so was the most beautiful of compliments. I didn’t feel courageous and remembered how difficult it was at first for me to speak about rape publicly. In the beginning, after the publication of each subsequent article in my Rape Survivor Series, I would cry because I felt so incredibly naked. My boyfriend at the time suggested if it had made me feel so awful that I should just quit. I thought about that for a minute but for me, quitting had never been an option.
Although my articles were created with the medium of words, I’ve always considered myself an artist more than a writer. I know that my work was more than words to some people because like good art it is evocative; it encourages and inspires. When I started writing I was just expressing the feelings I’d been keeping inside for a decade. I was driven to do this for myself. I needed to do it. Many artists work from an inner drive and produce work that only suits themselves; if other people like it than that’s just a bonus. Perhaps that’s why the spirit of an artist is often rebellious: one must maintain that sort of rebelliousness to blindly put their creation out into the world, never knowing what to expect or how it will be received, one must not care about the consequences or reactions to their art. Never did I think that my work would affect others in such a positive way. However, this is how I learned about “speaking your truth.” When one comes out and is honest, others nod in agreement.
People hide behind facades not because they are intentionally dishonest, but scared. The truth is that if there is something you are uncomfortable talking about, more people can probably relate to you than you would ever expect. Speaking out about rape is just one example. Speaking about this openly encouraged other people to do the same. Did you ever think about the word “encourage?” The word encourage really means “to give courage.” That is what artists and true innovators do. Alone they take a step into the unknown and inspire others not to follow them but to step out onto their own path into their own unknown and tell their story through art or words or whatever medium suits them.