We post pictures everywhere. On Facebook, on Instagram, Snapchat, and a whole list of other places. To a certain extent, these images define us. They allow us to control some of how others perceive us. What we show becomes how they view us. So we keep the ugly selfies hidden away on our phones where nobody will see them.
I was scrolling through Facebook today, when I came across a post by a friend of mine. He was talking about soul selfies. Deep inside the core of every person, soul selfies exist. We all have them. And they are powerful.
Today I felt discouraged. About my writing, about my blog, and about a great many other things. I found myself wondering, “Am I even good enough to do this? What if I mess up? What if after all this, nobody cares?”
Discouragement is a real struggle, and it happens to everybody, no matter how long you’ve been writing or how much experience you have. I kept wondering what I was doing wrong. After a short text conversation with Sam, during which I explained my struggle and admitted to being discouraged, he told me to go for a walk. And honestly, my first thought was, “Well, wouldn’t that be a waste of time?” I had work to do.
There is something about being human that drives us to create. Something drives us to seek answers and dig for truths through stories, art, music, and more. The act of creating things is an act of exploration and expression.
I think each person is an artist. Whether you write, paint, sing, or construct business plans, or program video games, you’ve created something in your life. Many people who work “non-creative jobs” have at least one creative hobby. You might not consider yourself the “artist type”, but I think everybody has an artist inside them.
I’m a really bad journaler. I get caught up in other things and completely forget about keeping a journal. The more I manage to do it, though, the more I see its benefit. Keeping a journal can do great things for you and your art.
I think some people find journaling to be a very daunting idea. Who has time to sit down and document the details of their entire day—every day? What’s the point? If you picture journaling as sitting down with a notebook and pen, and writing about your life until your fingers fall off, you’ve got the wrong idea.
Let me ask you a question. Why do you spend so much time creating things? What drives you to return day after day after day to your art—even when it’s frustrating? Even when you feel like you’re making a mistake. Even when others tell you it isn’t worth it.
My guess is that you want to make a difference. You hope that somehow, your words or your music or artwork will touch someone; inspire them; give hope to those who have none. As an artist, you act as a portal for others into a world of beauty. Isn’t that why we all create?
Your voice matters.
Sometimes I think we underestimate that statement. We don’t really think about what it means. In fact, we don’t really spend much time thinking about our voice at all. What is it? Why is it so important?
You’ve probably heard someone tell you that if you’re going to succeed as an artist, you need to “find your voice”. But you don’t need to find your voice. You already have it. In fact, your voice is a huge piece of your identity. What you need to do is learn to understand it.
“Music expresses that which cannot be said, and upon which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo
I believe that one of the greatest gifts God has given to man is the beauty of music.
A melody can move hearts and stir emotions like nothing else can. Memories of growing up. An Oldies favorite mom would sing when she was making breakfast on Saturday mornings. Sixteen years old and driving solo for the first time, with the windows down and the radio cranking. The hymn that was played at grandma’s funeral. A special tune from that first date with your soulmate. Times of unspeakable loss, of supreme joy and pleasure, the subtle sweetness of quiet ordinary days we used to know…can all be mysteriously carried in a simple song.