As I was observing Independence Day this past weekend with my family, I was reminded of the search we are all engaged in every minute of every day even if we are not conscious of it. What we’re all looking for, what we all seek, is freedom. Not freedom from the world but freedom in the world. The freedom to be ourselves right now in this world, unvarnished and still loved and appreciated for who we really are. The freedom to make mistakes, and still find redemption and love. The freedom to speak, to write, to create, to do or to do no-thing at all. Freedom to be ourselves without condemnation. Freedom is the expression and the experience we yearn for as partners, lovers, entrepreneurs, writers, speakers, teachers, artists, (insert anything here). As spiritual beings seeking a human experience, we crave the freedom (and safety) to explore the boundaries of our vulnerable self-expression.
Freedom for Writers
As writers write, they write to communicate, to express an idea and tell a story. Many times a story is completely fabricated from the delicious depths of a free-to-be mind and soul. I find writing which is unabashed and devoid of worry, concern for applause, acceptance, and fear of retribution or judgement deliver the juiciest prose to the page. Most writers struggle with attaining this kind of freedom from their own internal critic. Writers wrestle with their angels (and demons) from pen to page. A writer’s quest is to accomplish spinning their own brand, their unique voice onto the page for the reader to ingest, internalize and connect either in truth or in sheer entertainment sizzling the senses. The best writing is wrought from fearless self-expression. Writers crave to be free. Free to pursue their craft, free to express the polarity of their soul from dark terrifying depths to enlightened illumination, encompassing all the terrain in-between.
Unfortunately writers, just as anyone else, can get ensnared and caught in worrying about their audience and who will or won’t swipe their credit card on Amazon.com. The surest way to strangle the life out of a writer’s creative voice before it’s made manifest on the page is for the author to write for the sale or to write for approval. This type of writing was always referred to as “workshop writing” by my MFA writing professors. Technically the structure is correct, but it’s missing a soul, nobody cares when they read it.
You don’t have to be a writer to understand the value of fearless writing. I’m speaking of writing that compel’s a reader to connect to the author through an invisible thread. This is a brand of intimacy between reader and writer, fueled entirely by an author’s vulnerability. Freedom to weave words in complete abandon is the secret sauce to putting a soul onto a page. I love reading this kind of writing, but as a writer this kind of writing takes risk.
(Any fellow Speakers out there? This applies as aptly to the Speaking Profession as it does to writing and publishing.)
Become the Author of Your Best Life
If you aren’t a writer, you may be wondering how talking about writers exposing their voice may be relevant to you. But you see, you are the writer and author of your own life. Right now you’re actively writing your memoir, engaged in mapping out your own screenplay for the movie of YOU. Right now you’re weaving the tapestry of your legacy. What does it look like? This is your life. Do you like it? Is it what you want? Are you living a life fully self-expressed? Are you afraid of being exposed for who you really are without the mask you wear to navigate socially? (We all have them.)
It matters not our age, race, gender, or national origin, life has parallels. Consider the concept of writing in order to “sell” a book. Writing, (or speaking), for a paying audience may constrain the writer if the author feels that they must deliver in a way that is not entirely they way they’d like it to be, but it’s what sells so they do it anyway. If we’re honest, we’ve all done this in our every day lives on a daily basis. Take relationships for example. If you’ve ever dated or been in a longterm relationship…or if you’ve ever applied for a job and were hired…you “sold” someone else on YOU. It was you who made that initial impression, but also you on your best behavior. What about when the less than perfected version of you shows up?
Hiding, not telling our truth, afraid of being too raw or exposed, we often abandon ourselves in exchange for love, acceptance, and approval. In so doing we diminish our own creative spark feeling trapped in a life that does not feel like it is fully “us” or representative of what we could truly be or demonstrate this lifetime.
These parallels abound throughout human life. What freedom do you seek? Are you diminishing yourself in any subtle ways? Do you feel free to be unashamedly you? Can you speak your truth? Can you live each day free to be all that you are and all that you’re not?
This is it. This is the time for you to be who you came to be. Make the unique contribution this lifetime that you came to make. What do you have to say? What is your message? There’s no one like you and everyone like you…and precisely why most of us are attracted irrepressibly to those who’re courageous enough to show us their tender underbellies. Yours is unbelievably gorgeous. What a shame if you don’t share it with us.
May you be encouraged this day to live fully self-expressed. Whether you write, speak, teach, coach, mentor, create…may you feel the courage to deliver nothing less than your succulent self. You are a gift, a miracle, a bright light and we need your contribution.
May you be blessed.