The Three Freedoms you need to take advantage of to experience ultimate creative freedom are Freedom to grow, Freedom to be heard, and Freedom to listen. Let’s start here.
What is Creative Freedom?
Creative freedom is having the freedom to create without limitations. Before we dive in, I wanted to explain that this post is geared toward Conscious Writers. I describe conscious writers as writers who don’t just write to write they write with the intention to grow internally.
Back to the hot topic, creative freedom. What is it? Is this something we even need as writers?
The secret to creative freedom is letting go of our habitual certainties.Deepak Chopra
When we first began writing, we had so many limitations that we didn’t realize before we really dove into the writing world. We did and may still have to learn formatting, sharing our work to be critiqued, plot and story development, character arches, how to market our product. And it always seems, where we excel in one area, we are weak in another.
Once we get more practice at all those things, we have less limitations. Point being, some limitations disappear with practice.
There’s different types of limitations when it comes to creative freedom, but I don’t want to take this entire post to focus on all the limitations. I want to take time to talk about the limitless access we have to creative freedom and what that means to us as Conscious Writers.
Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate. no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind -Virginia Woolfe–Virginia Woolfe Quote taken from 7 quotes by famous authors that will make you cherish your freedom Penguin Random House India
When we learn to write without limitations, we can share our message with the world in an unlimited amount of ways. When we allow ourselves the space to be new at something, to make mistakes, and evolve, we inspire creativity within ourselves. When we inspire creativity in ourselves, we can’t help but make art. We learn what doesn’t quite work so we can make it work better next time. That tells the world, I’m here and I’m not leaving. No matter where I am in life, I will create art through writing.
Going through the Three Freedoms (Freedom to Grow, Freedom to Be Heard, and Freedom to Listen), my intention is to provide creative writers with the tools they need to realize their creative freedom even when it seems like everything around them is limiting their creativity. Creativity can’t be tamed and locked in a box. It is ours and we have unlimited access to it. (Until we’re dead and even then, there’s a chance we still have access to imagination.)
We are on a journey and our writing is proof we’re still alive. In poetic terms, each page is an exhale.Jayne.Press
Freedom to Grow
Creative freedom is a gift we have as humans beings. It liberates us from a world that would be just fine seeing us lose our life to fit into their box. I started writing my For the Conscious Writer posts in 2020 with the intention of having it lead into a mentoring program. (I created a link in case you want to check out some of those posts on Medium.) I let fear and uncertainty knock me off track. I didn’t want to do it alone. I also didn’t want to make a fool of myself while developing a program that I care about so much. But no more! I’m not going to let fear keep me from being exactly who I want to be and who I’m excited to be.
Let’s break free!
I’ve taken time to gather the most important aspects to creative freedom. I came up with three freedoms for creatives that lead to the ultimate creative freedom.
- Freedom to Grow
- Freedom to Be Heard
- Freedom to Listen
I want to take some time to focus on the first one.
Freedom to grow, what does that even mean?
Freedom to grow as a writer is allowing yourself to expand into new places and spaces that will give you more experience, wisdom, and knowledge.
Why do we need freedom to grow?
Referring back to the definition, freedom to grow gives us more experience, wisdom, and knowledge. Those things together with self reflection and inner growth give us power behind our message, confidence in our craft, and they give us the strength to keep going when all seems lost. One of the most beautiful things that comes with allowing ourselves the freedom to grow is the ability to shine our light for others to see in the darkness.
When I let fear dictate my life (very recently for me) I become complacent, bogged down, and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. In this state, I often forget the tools I have that can help inspire me and feel like I’m growing as an artist. Aka the tools that help me avoid burnout.
Here’s the three tools
I know you probably have some ideas but let’s keep our minds fresh with some different ways you can experiment, read, and connect with other writers to keep you inspired and interested in your creative writing. Inspiration and interest are like your shields against burn out, writers block, and stagnancy.
As writers experimentation helps us break down barriers in ourselves and in the world that surrounds us. Exploring different ways to share our message helps us reach different audiences with a more powerful impact. Readers want to enjoy what you have to share. What you have to say is so valuable to our collective growth. Experimenting really gives our work edge and helps us to meet those in need, exactly where they are. Here’s a list of different ways to experiment with your writing.
- Writing styles
- Character development
- Different Types of writing
- Different mediums (painting, acting, sculpting)
- How you engage with your readers
- How you invite the world to read your work
Being intentional about our experimentation gets us out of the boxes we create for comfort to avoid fear. You don’t have to master every experiment. The point is to get out there and try new things and experience the writing life. You may remind yourself why you enjoy the genre you write OR you may find your experiment is exactly what’s missing in your life. You never know if you don’t try.
Yes, I know you guys already know that reading is important, but what I really want to encourage is to take this even further. I think it’s important for us as conscious writers to make sure we’re reading more than what’s fed to us. I think it’s important for us to follow the white rabbit that takes us outside of the “norm.” So…
As Conscious Writers I respectfully ask that you read two things. Read
outside of your typical genre and
Outside of your own culture
All the books!
The only way you can become a better writer is by reading the works of other writers. Reading another writer’s work whether they’re someone you know or a dead poet, expands your perception. It may help you see someone else’s side of the story. The hardest genre for me to read is romance but there are some great romance scenes that melt my heart. Another hard thing for me, is to find books outside of my culture at the library. I kinda just wander around and pick up what looks good. But I’d like to be more intentional about what books I pick out. There’s too much world out there to keep reading writing from the same class and culture over and over again. I want so much more than what I already know. It’s adventurous and daring, and it takes work but writing is the path we chose (or the path that chose us) and we want to develop. Getting better takes some effort.
Connecting with other writers
- For feedback
- Learning the best way for you to give and receive criticism
- For support -to give and receive it
- For ideas
- For Friendship
Connecting with other writers takes you out of the vacuum or that spiral calling your name. I think there are times in your writing process where you shouldn’t read books (especially from the genre you’re writing in) and you shouldn’t converse with other people about your work. But outside of that point in the creative process, it’s important to talk to other writers. Why is connection with other writers important though? Because first off they understand the writing experience. They understand the woes and joys that come with writing. We don’t all experience the same thing as writers, but we have a great deal of understanding in comparison to those who don’t commit themselves to writing. Plus, it helps us better understand the human experience. It’s 2022! We have the ability to talk to people outside of our own countries!
Different ways to connect with other writers
- Comment on blogs and post your own blogs
- Send a uplifting DM
- Post your own work
- Find writing groups
- Lead a writing group
- Participate in challenges
If you like the idea of connecting with friends here’s a great post on Medium titled Friends and the Creative Process
If this got your wheels your turning just imagine how much more we can inspire ourselves if we work together.
Follow link for more details.
Freedom to Be Heard
Why does being heard and understood feel so good?
When we are forced into situations that consistently silence our thoughts and feelings, it makes us wonder if we bring any value into the world. In turn, that leads us to wonder if we are valuable at all.
Let’s put an end to that question right now with some words of affirmation.
You are valuable. Your thoughts and feelings are valuable. What you have to say is valuable and you are valuable inside and out.
Were you silenced when you had something really important to say?
Is there a book you can think of where a character was silenced when they had something to say?
I’ll share both a story and an experience in my life. The first story that comes to mind for me is Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein. Frankenstein’s monster only wanted to be heard and listened to but people were too afraid of his appearance to hear him. This caused him to feel unloved and unaccepted. Here’s a quote
If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Frankenstein’s monster found other ways to be heard and understood. Let’s pretend, in a world where he was heard maybe he’d say something more like,
I will not cause fear when I can inspire love.
Well, that’s what we shoot for. The point is, he was being silenced when all he needed was to be heard and understood. As we can see by the monster’s words, (not our pretend ones) he chose to take a path of destruction when he was consistently not heard by both those around him and his creator. But let’s find a better way than Frankenstein’s monster. Let’s get our voices heard.
Ok let’s talk about a personal story for me. When I was in high school, I was really struggling. I cried daily in school. I had frequent absences. I had super low self-esteem and barely ate food. One day, I begged my mom to call the school and explain to them how much I was struggling. She asked for a mentor and/or books so I could get homeschooled, but since I was a “good kid” they wouldn’t help. I eventually found myself at night school and graduated with my diploma but getting my diploma didn’t solve the problem. I needed more. I needed someone listen to me, hear me, and take time to understand me and the things I was struggling with at home. It would have been life saving. My academics didn’t need support, I needed to be heard and understood. I was never taught how to validate my own feelings. I was never taught how to listen and understand myself. All I knew was that I needed more support and I was struggling to find it. I continued to struggle even with a high school diploma. Eventually this lead to destructive behaviors into my adulthood. The toxic relationships, over-giving, and still not eating enough all grew bigger and dominated my adulthood. Once I got to college, I finally got more support. I learned to listen to myself and learned the many ways (that I used to think was selfish), I could intentionally take time to understand myself.
How does all this apply to creative writing?
In writing, I get to let myself be wild and free, like my hair. I make my characters or the narrator speak up, I have them ask questions, and they even rebel against those who don’t respect their thoughts and feelings. I have learned so much from studying the development of all my characters, and I try to use my writing to find different ways to advocate for myself.
So to answer the question we started with,
Why does being heard and understood feel so good?
Being heard and understood by others mirrors your value back to you, but we can’t place our value in others. Some people don’t listen or understand themselves, maybe they are still learning to fully value themselves. This means they aren’t capable of reflecting your value back to you. We must learn to mirror our value back to ourselves. This is where listening and understanding yourself is the direct path to creative freedom. Why? because the amazing gift you receive from learning to hear and understand yourself is that you can genuinely bring value to those around you by just being you! And as an added bonus, this brings value and depth to your characters! It’s wild how everything is so connected. I love it.
So let’s go back to our words of affirmation. Words of affirmation are great, buuut what’s important when it comes to words of affirmation is to believe them so intently that your actions line up with them. Here’s the affirmation again.
You are valuable. Your thoughts and feelings are valuable. What you have to say is valuable. You are valuable inside and out.
How would -or do your actions support these words? If you’re still learning to hear and understand yourself, what can you do to show that you believe these words are true?
Here’s some ideas.
As conscious writers, we must take time to hear and understand ourselves so that our freedom to be heard can be endless!
What habits help you to hear and understand yourself?
- Minding your circle
- Staying away from spaces that silence you
6 Ways to intentionally hear and understand yourself
- Use words of affirmation followed by supportive actions
- Believe yourself
- Allow your feelings to flow through you and trusting they have their place in your life
- Study the works and lives of leaders who inspire you
- Learn your values and goals
- When people say nice things about you, believe them
Do what you feel pulled to do. What interests you, what inspires you, what you are curious about –follow those things. This is one of the most fun and adventurous ways we learn to understand ourselves.
In conclusion, when you find your freedom to be heard, you will have gained one out of three of the most important tools that lead to creative freedom!
I wanna share your art, poems, and writing that represent you getting your voice heard!!
Tag me and use #freedomtobeheard and #fortheconsciouswriter so I can share your work with
Freedom to Listen
A dangerous book will always be in danger from those it threatens with the demand that they question their assumptions. They’d rather hang on to the assumptions and ban the book.”― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader and the Imagination
Having the freedom to listen to stories that are not (yet) accepted socially, that aren’t in line with my country’s political system or culture, that aren’t in line with my own moral obligations, allows me to really think about what our options are or could be especially in the time of crisis. It gives me more perspectives. Gives more power to my choices. I can respectfully disagree and then show the world why through my writing.
I’d like to start by sharing a piece of my life. I’ve been blessed to live on both sides of the coin. I have both been deprived of literature and shown what it’s like to have the freedom to read what feels like an unlimited amount of books. The freedom was and is so exciting for me. I was brought up in a Christian home and attended a private Christian school so I did not have the freedom to read anything and everything I wanted. It always felt like something was missing in my life. Thankfully, we had Charlette’s Web and a few X-men comics which lit up my whole brain. We had more books but they were all Christian based. And let me be clear, I’m grateful I was raised learning the stories in the bible. I think they are rich in symbolism, thought provoking, and gave me a firm foundation for the writer I’ve become today. But there truly is freedom in reading things outside of my own beliefs and culture. Esoteric reads, Rimbaud, Plath, journal articles all light my fire and were not accessible to me until college. They all pique my curiosity, push me to keep learning and connecting with others who share my curiosity.
THE MIND THAT OPENS TO A NEW IDEA NEVER RETURNS TO ITS ORIGINAL SIZE.Albert Einstein
If I had access as a youth to more literature that opposed my beliefs, I could have said, I’ve read the literature for these other religions and I still choose Christianity. I feel it gives my choice more weight because I made the choice on my own among all the other options. I also feel it would have made me more understanding to those who hold different religious beliefs.
Today, I know how important is to hear stories from all over the world. It is vital to expanding our minds and stepping into new perspectives. I don’t believe in banned books. I think we should have access to them all. “Won’t it overwhelm us?” some might ask. This is a perfectly logical question. Especially with this being the information age, it can feel like we’re drowning in answers. I must say, as conscious writers, we don’t have to drown ourselves in information. We can gather resources and execute at our own pace. We can get through one piece of literature at a time.
This like any other freedom comes down to you. It requires, setting aside time to not only read but search for literature, art, and music that is outside of your norm that you can critically think about. This new you that comes from searching, is your freedom to listen. The choice is always yours.
I challenge you this week to search for something outside of your belief and culture and write about it.