Cherish the Challenge

Hi everyone, I just wanted to pop in, in the middle of my four interviews with local creatives to say ‘Hi’ and share a few thoughts about my week.

It’s been a challenging one to be honest, snippets of weird things going wrong but interspersed by little bits of Big Magic, as Elizabeth Gilbert likes to call it. If you’ve still yet to read Big Magic, I urge you to get it and then devour it, because it’s a truly phenomenal book for creatives, in-fact anyone who is interested in inspiration and how it all comes to play out in the universe!

Anyway, back to my week, so it started out where I had to produce my post for The Yorkshire Writer’s Lunch because it was my turn. I decided to do a follow up to my first post, creating a story that would make readers question their first impressions and reaction to the central character, Harry. The follow up story idea came to me immediately after the first post, so I was keen to work on it as I liked the direction it was going.

However, the idea was tricky to convey a lot of detail into quite a short word-count. It didn’t come to the page half as easily as the first. I found myself writing, re-writing, chopping and re-hashing several times and when this happens, I worry that the emotion is taking a hit, like I am lessening the empathy and losing the story-line. But I persevered, kept leaving it and coming back to take a fresh look at what needed to be done.

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So true, writingroutines.com

After lots of uncertainty, I pressed publish and hoped for the best. That day I received some lovely comments from the other writers in the group who I greatly admire and look up to. One, called Chris had written this comment:

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I can’t tell you how much that left me beaming. On Tuesday I raced back to the lunch which is held every week at The Cafe Society in Huddersfield, from dropping my son off in Leeds. I walked in, and the members were discussing my story. Chris, whom I’ve only met once before, again told me how moved he was upon reading it, I was literally glowing!

You may be thinking why is she telling me all this, just to show off? Well no, this week has included two poorly children and a partially blown-up boiler creating a river running through our kitchen roof, which then poured into the Sky box and wrecked Wifi and TV for a while, I’m on day 4 of no hot water and it aint looking likely until at least next week, large sigh.

But my point is, none of that matters, really, ok it is very annoying and of course I don’t’ like the kids being ill, but it’s just life chucking stuff at you to see how you cope. The good things are both kids are now better and me and the hubs are making jokes about how lousy we look without our daily showers.

Despite all this I feel like I’ve really achieved some good things this week. The other writer’s reactions to my story, plus my friends and family’s comments too, made me feel like I am actually a real writer, something that I don’t feel worthy of very often. It felt so good to get that reaction from a piece I was really unsure about and just goes to show the things you find really tricky sometimes, challenge you to do your best work, without you even realising it.

So, the moral of the story, if you’re finding something really hard, are stuck creatively and it takes more effort, determination or more soul-searching to get there, DON’T LET IT PUT YOU OFF, it could just be that Big Magic out there knowing that you can do better, that you are capable of more, that you can dig a little bit deeper.

It might feel uncomfortable and give you a few sleepless nights, but it will be worth it to feel really proud of what you’ve created and to feel more confident diving into that next challenge. It’s only through these mini-trials that you learn, and this week I’ve learned I need to have a little more self-belief and with that I’m once again raring to go on my creative writing, so it’s back to the book (once the damn boiler is sorted of course!)

If this post has inspired you a little to rise to your creative challenge, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below and If you fancy a quick read with your cuppa, you can find the two stories I’ve done for the Yorkshire Writers Lunch here; The Dog-Walker Stalker and the follow up I posted this week,  A Lost Life.

Today I did my interview with Nigel Proud, a local artist from the Art Group I go to for next Monday’s post, part of my ‘local creative’s’ series. We had a really interesting chat about how he’s finally turning his passion and talent in pastel painting into a genuine small business and he’s really excited to take it to the next level.

So, until next time – when hopefully I’ll be more fragrant with hot running water, have a great creative weekend!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

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