I'm digging into my next book—an exploration of a feminine spiritual path and how that supports us in living a more sustainable and fulfilled life. And while this book has been gestating within me for years, I am encountering quite a bit of resistance in putting pen to the page (or more accurately, fingers to the keyboard). So I was reflecting again on the nature of persistence, and wanted to share this chapter from Doorways to Transformation that encourages us in the pursuit of our craft...
“What if you didn’t take the process and the results personally?
What if you just got busy with the next possibility and the next?
A dandelion doesn’t cast a seed and then hold its breath and wait
to see if and how it takes root. It keeps casting seeds. It gives
everything it has to everything it is born to do. What if you kept
casting your seeds to the wind—and it didn’t matter which seed
took root because you knew something would. That’s the nature
of creation. Something always comes through.” —Tama Kieves
Persist we must, if our art is to ever make its debut into the world. I am part of a weekly writers’ group, and on any given week between five and ten people gather, computers in tow. All who come desire to give birth to their writing creations, contribute to the public sphere, and offer something of hope, challenge, or thoughtfulness to society.
But these offerings don’t come about merely through wishful thinking or by showing up occasionally to write a few lines. No, the name of the game with any creative endeavor is dogged persistence. In fact, one of the group members, a woman named Lainey, persevered mightily in writing her first novel. Upon completion, she sent it to countless agents, all of whom rejected it. Two years later, and after 130 rejections, her work was finally accepted by a small publishing company. Just when she was about to give up hope and accept that this particular work would never see the light of day, publishing became a tangible option. But if it weren’t for that last bit of tenacity, her work may have remained unexpressed to the larger world.
Anyone who thinks the creative life is somehow easy or a glorified path of self-expression would do well to remember that creative birthing is much more about the difficult work of staying the course than it is about being divinely inspired. It is about persisting when you are riding high on inspiration and when you are plagued with doubts, when the world doesn’t believe in you, or when you fail to believe in yourself. Returning to our craft day after day, week after week, and consciously choosing to believe in our vision, even when it’s cloudy, is the only way to transform ideas into something tangible.
The good news is, the ability to stick with our craft is a skill we can choose to cultivate, a muscle that grows stronger each time we use it. By staying the course, we take a stand in owning our power and affirming that our creations want and need to be shared with others. Determination forms habits and habits lead to finished work. And finished work will always find its place in the world if we fail to give up.
What specific discipline helps move your creative work forward?
Where can you receive support from other creatives to help you push through adversity and stick with your craft?