Alice in Wonderland

Invite Yourself to the Table of Creation

Invite yourself to the table.
Invite yourself to the table! Image: John Tenniel, The Nursery Alice edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Public Domain.

Beginning is an Invitation –Add Yourself to the Guest List!

In my last post Writing, Rule One: Just Begin I discuss how hard it can be for the aspiring writer to get started because it is so easy to doubt oneself. Now let’s dig a little deeper into that concept. Writers, and other artists for that matter, are extending an invitation to themselves every time they attempt to make something. They are inviting themselves to the table of creation!  That can be terrifying because, firstly, you need to believe you deserve to have a spot at that table, and secondly, you need the courage to assert yourself once you’re there.

No Room? No Way! You Stay Put.

Sometimes that table is just you at your writing desk, but when you’re actively promoting your work and interacting with other creatives that table can get mighty crowded and feel anything but supportive or inviting. It can get downright nasty and at its worst feel like the Mad Hatter’s tea party with everyone shouting at you, “No room!” But when you feel something or someone push you from that table that’s when you got to push right back and re-invite yourself to the tea party all over again: that invitation is the nucleus of beginning, and the perpetual reminder that YES! YOU BELONG HERE.

One of the things that really got me thinking about this struggle was reading Arielle Bernstein‘s recent Rumpus interview with writer & yogi Jen Pastiloff. It’s an inspiring, lively piece that I encourage everyone to check out, but I was particularly struck by Pastiloff’s description of her empowerment workshops for young girls that combine writing exercises with yoga/movement. Pastiloff states, “One of the things that comes up most frequently at my workshops is the prevailing belief of ‘I am not enough.’ ” How many of us first sidle up to the table of creation with such limiting beliefs? Probably all of us! But with creation can come strength and a renewed confidence. Trust that your impulse to create something, and to express what is inside of you, is a sign of your worthiness to participate in the process.

Invite Flight and the Power of Putting Yourself First

Other times you may find it’s your own baggage you’re bringing to the table that is undermining your work (or even luring you away from the table altogether). Maybe you don’t have anyone in your life who supports your writing, or maybe you’re just finding it a struggle to keep up a creative routine alongside work, school, family, etc. I have a few tips on how to deal with the unsupportive beasties that I’ll be sharing with you down the road but as for the balancing act …well, it is hard, I won’t kid you, and there is NO one answer to that problem. All I can say is be mindful of your creative truth, why writing is important to you and what you are trying to achieve, and watch out for those times when you decline that invite to the table. What’s your RSVP? Oh I’m not really a writer, who am I kidding? I’m taking time away from my family working on this and that’s not right. Watch out for such limiting thoughts! Sure, there will be days when you will just not get to your writing, but hey it happens. Just don’t let those crumpled, discarded invites pile up! Your time at the table of creation is time that you deserve.

Coming up soon on Bowen Blogs: I kibbitz about characterization, ponder the power of the gender fluid writer, dish about the books I’m digging du jour, plus I answer the question, “What’s the deal with the word playwright?”

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