Why Your Creativity is Hiding in the Shadows

Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest will take care of itself — Elizabeth Gilbert

I've been letting other people tell my story. 

I realized this last week while journaling. I'll have something to say, and I'll be just about to start talking about it, and then someone will pop off and say their piece and suddenly...I don't want to speak anymore.

It's not insidious. I don't think these people do it on purpose. In fact, there's legitimately only one scenario where I know for a fact it was a speak before Elora gets her chance type of motive, and I can count on one hand the amount of you-know-what that I give about that whole cluster.

No, this is mostly a confidence issue. This is mostly me looking at what others have shared and somehow deciding their story is enough. 

But it's not. Because it's not my story.

And just because they choose to process their side first, that doesn't automatically negate my own perspective. 


A few weeks ago, I received a message on Facebook accusing me of copying someone's brand. This person posted on a Facebook page about her latest idea for reaching a specific target group, and I missed the niche in between the lines of her explanation. So a few weeks later, when I shared Write Your Worth, a brand I'm building with Alicia Caine, she immediately assumed I took her idea and molded it for my own benefit. 

Even though Alicia and I have been brainstorming since June. 
Even though we built the eCourse and launched it before she even posted her idea. 
Even though our audience is already well-developed and hyper-focused.

I laughed when she suggested we not proceed. Her reasoning? When she learned I was a story coach, she decided not to work with writers, out of respect to my brand. My exact response: "don't even place that type of manipulation on me. If you want to work with writers, you work with writers. There are plenty of us out there and I guarantee there will be more...but that doesn't mean we don't need you in whatever capacity you're meant to work. There's more than enough room at this table."

Same idea. Different people. Two separate (but needed) brands.

I was quick to shut her down, letting her know her worries were unfounded and she still needed to proceed where her own inspiration led her.


Boy do I get that inherent fear that pushed her to message me.


In Big MagicElizabeth Gilbert talks about the organic matter of ideas. Mostly, that when an idea's time has come, there is multiple discovery. 

When the nineteenth century Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai invented non-Euclidean geometry, his father urged him to publish his findings immediately, before someone else landed on the same idea, saying, ‘When the time is ripe for certain things, they appear at different places, in the manner of violets coming to light in early spring.’
— Elizabeth Gilbert (page 62)

I can relate. Maybe you can, too? Once I had a brilliant idea for a novel, twisting the stereotype into something I've never seen before....until the very next day I saw a preview for a new movie with the exact same plot. 

Another time I started planning an idea for an offering with Awake the Bones, only to be re-routed by a full time job. In January, another brand launched their offering — an exact version of what I imagined back in March. 

And this is just with creativity. This isn't just you know...talking about what's going on in my life.

What I'm figuring out is that the quickest way to silence myself is to let the progress of others prevent my own.

It's the sneakiest sort of comparison. 

Oh well she's already shared the story so....I guess I don't need to write about it. 
Since there's a movie I can't write a book about it. 
People will think I'm copying if I launch with that idea I had last spring....

Slide the tape open, break it apart, slap it on my mouth. 

I'm so sick of it. 

It's the worst kind of censorship, knowing that you are a willing participant because you're doing it to yourself. Even after I realized what was happening last week, it still took me a solid seven days to write about it. I've decided in 2016, one of the ways I can become a student of my own creativity is to follow the inspiration. 

So the book idea I had before, I can still use it. Except, instead of it being the entire plot, I'm going to use it to create depth of characters and story line.  
And the offering I planned on sharing? I'm still going to do it. But it's going to be created with my unique giftings and core genius, and not how others envisioned it for their dream clients. 

Nothing is as dangerous as a single story. We've seen the TED talk. Yet as creatives, we're so quick to disqualify ourselves. We step into the shadows as soon as someone else decides to stretch their muscles and venture into the spotlight. 

"We'll let them do the dirty work," we think. And as a result, the world misses out on our very real, very needed story that only we can tell. 

Here's the thing: no one else has the mixture of creativity and experiences and ideas that you have — even if what they share is similar, it's still not labeled as YOU. Don't let them share what's meant to come from you. Don't believe the lie that you're safe in the shadows. 

It's time that story, that idea, that piece of creativity came into the light.

Posted on January 13, 2016 and filed under Your Story.