Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper. How to Not Cheat on Your Creative Life.

Confession: The above photograph is inspired by Hannah Marcotti, Vivinne McMaster, Danielle LaPorte, and @ledewitt on instagram.

So. Just to keep this real. I find it nearly impossible to keep my eyes on my own paper 100% of the time. And that’s okay.

Additionally, this post is influenced by the work of Lauren Bacon and Tanya Geisler, who recently launched a deeply magical digital program called Beyond Compare.

I reference my inspirations and influences, because my point is not for us to live in total isolation, uninspired or uninfluenced by the world around us. That’s non-sense.

My point is that what makes creating anything feel magical, is birthing it from YOU. Taking the materials (inspiration, included) from the world around you, and mixing them together with your own individuality.

When your writing, photography, facebook status updates, sketches, handwriting, songs, or feasts, are infused with your essence, your truth, your touch, your flaws–then you’re making magic.

When your way of relating, fucking, buying and selling, thanking and apologizing, making your bed and arranging your space, is an honest reflection of just how you like to do it–then you’re entering the realm of Empress.

Okay. So we understand this much–that being yourself feels magical. Expressing yourself truly is magic-making. But still. We grasp for inspiration, for the right way, for the answer, for the correct whatever, for the expert advice….blah blah blah.

I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re terrified to love ourselves. To stand alone in our love for ourselves. To be alone. (This book is REALLY helpful for that, by the way.)

Julie Daley recently said something about reading her poems to a group of 150 people that struck me as magic. She said (I’m paraphrasing) that her poems were a success because she had taken them all the way in. She had received them for herself. They were hers. She loved them. That was enough.

In this day and age, there’s so much opportunity to buy and sell our creativity, that we’re often hyper-focused on that–on what makes our art sellable.

That’s cool. I get it. I do it, too. My livelihood depends on my capacity to get you to feel understood, inspired by, and supported through what I create. It matters how you receive me.

So I’ve been doing some research on the matter, and here’s what I found:

Both in terms of online dating, and in terms of copywriting–the people who say, show and express something that turns OFF some people, end up with more devotional fans and/or more dates.

Why? Because people have preferences, and they’re usually not for the watered down stuff. They’re for the weird stuff. The quirky stuff. The unique stuff. The magical stuff. The bend in the nose. The decisive opinion. The specific slang choices. The curly hair. The round body.

There’s something magical about liking what you like, having your preferences.

If we know this is true, let’s inverse the equation: There’s something magical about creating what’s you, expressing your quirks. There’s a feeling we can only get from being totally and completely true, that’s probably pretty damn close to love.

And so–keep your eyes on your own creative paper. 

Sing with your tainted accent.

Write with your honest-to-god word choices.

Show the side of your face or the curve of your body that you think makes you different or weird or imperfect in your selfie.

Don’t cheat on showing up as and showing off the true you. Because it’s what we find interesting and amazing and gorgeous and real. And it’s what feels good to finally give in to, when we’ve been trying and trying to be something or somebody else.

In service to walking my talk–I’m not going to edit this post to try to make it more structurally cohesive (which is what I would do if I were obsessing on how other people are doing it “out there”–if I were cheating on my creative truth). I’m a poet for god’s sake. I flow from one idea to the next in my communication. And honestly *whispering* I like it that way.

Here’s to burning through the urge to cheat on ourselves creatively… and to standing in the fire of our own unique expression.

All love, all the time,


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