Creating is exclusive. You wonder… Do I have what it takes? Can I get the job? Will someone like what I write? Can I change minds? Change lives? Change the world?
This is the stuff of both our dreams and our nightmares. We hope we can be IMPORTANT. And we hope we can be validated by the world, by the marketplace, by the one school teacher we loved, maybe by Mom or Dad.
“Tick-tock, game’s locked.”
This was a little taunt we used on the playground when I was little, to exclude someone from a game we were playing. Games weren’t “locked” when a popular kid tried to join in. They were hastily “locked” when someone nerdy or “stupid” was coming toward you. (Or your little sister.) I’ll admit, I was involved in locking out unfortunate playmates, but I was also on the receiving end. It never feels good. It can make you question your value in your universe.
Creativity can seem like a locked game. It’s hard to find an agent who likes your work. You’re showing your hand – everyone can see you want this.
I remember seeing a girl I knew, Karen, coming away from the pack of kids on the blacktop playground, walking toward the Willow tree where we liked to play. She had set an intention – to join us. Tragically, she was wearing a print dress and cardigan, and short white socks with Oxford shoes. We all knew better. We were way cooler, in our culottes, matching t-shirt, nylon knee socks, Keds, and yarn ties in our pig tails. And Karen had the wrong kind of glasses. Forget it.
It’s a long walk to the Willow tree, and even longer to go back to the pack on the playground, defeated. Karen sat down on the teeter-totter and looked down at us playing, with longing in her eyes. It didn’t help her case. No one likes a needy person.
I’m sure we all have times of rejection that we can recall in our lives. And there’s hurt and shame that can still burn when we think about it. And these serve as cautionary tales – whether consciously or unconsciously – when we consider risks.
Writing is always a risk. You’re always out in the open. Alone. Hoping to be accepted. Validated. And so, where can you find that validation? How can you bolster yourself in your print dress and Oxford shoes to leave the pack and head out to your desired location and be accepted?
We have also had many validations – degrees, awards, acceptance by our creative peers – but even at the highest levels of creativity validated, I’ve noticed people still question their creativity. Or if they take their own creativity for granted, they wonder why they can do ‘x’ like ‘so-and-so’ or ‘y’ like their friend ‘Blah-blah.’ They compare themselves, and show up wanting, needy.
What gave me the greatest confidence and ease in my own abilities and creativity is not what most people would think. It was not getting an agent, or being published. It was not being a successful brainstormer for 25 years for major companies like American Express, Heinz Ketchup, Burger King or Toys R Us.
I learned to trust my creativity when I was assessed. In black and white, with known, proven scientifically-sound assessments. It showed me not only my creative thinking style (and where I was lacking) but also my degree of creativity in many creative skills. I could see why I couldn’t do ‘x’ like ‘so-and-so’ or ‘y’ like my good friend ‘Blah-blah.’ I could also see where I excelled, and where ‘Blah-blah’ might need or envy me. I had game.
I am in this business primarily to help writers get game. You can get assessed, too. I offer the Creative Selfie – three widely used, scientific assessments that can help you see your creativity in full relief. Get assessed and get game.