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.

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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

Quote Source

https://www.idlehearts.com/1663322/the-secret-to-creative-freedom-is-letting-go-of-our-habitual-certainities

https://penguin.co.in/7-quotes-by-famous-authors-that-will-make-you-cherish-freedom/#

Freedom to Be Heard

The last couple days I’ve been diving into Freedom to Be Heard. It’s the second part of a three part series with creative freedom as the ultimate goal. And wow, what a coincidence that right now women from around the world are fighting be heard. What do we do when others don’t hear us? What do we do, as humans, as writers, when we feel that our freedom to Be Heard is being hindered?

I think the whole purpose of college for me was to learn how to make our voices heard in a world where so many things try to drown them out. There’s a lot of different avenues to be heard, but my focus is on writing, so how do writers make their voice heard? How do we get our message across? We’ll get more into that tomorrow.

For tonight let’s go back and think about how writers voiced their struggles with mental illness in the past. Sylvia Plath is the first to come to mind. I adore her as a poet. She shared her frustrations with loss. Jere’s one of her most popular poems is Lady Lazarus.

I have done it again.   
One year in every ten   
I manage it——

A sort of walking miracle, my skin   
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,   
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine   
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin   
O my enemy.   
Do I terrify?——

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?   
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be   
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.   
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.   
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.   
The peanut-crunching crowd   
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot——
The big strip tease.   
Gentlemen, ladies

These are my hands   
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.   
The first time it happened I was ten.   
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.   
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Dying
Is an art, like everything else.   
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.   
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.   
It’s the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute   
Amused shout:

‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.   
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge   
For the hearing of my heart——
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge   
For a word or a touch   
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.   
So, so, Herr Doktor.   
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,   
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.   
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there——

A cake of soap,   
A wedding ring,   
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer   
Beware
Beware.

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair   
And I eat men like air.

Lady Lazarus

BY SYLVIA PLATH

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49000/lady-lazarus

It’s clear what being silenced does to us as human beings. And it’s clear that as conscious writers, we have (what can feel like) the toughest job in the world as writers -speaking up about all the things others aren’t so brave to speak up about. That we may not even be brave enough to speak up about. That means treading through the murky waters, marching into the unknown, and teetering the edge to find different ways that will get our message out there. Finding what you have to say is just the first part. It’s learning to hear your message and being willing enough to let it change you, that’s the journey.

Letters to Myself

There’s no quit in you. I’ve seen you fight off the impending spiral with words from ancient texts and visions brought to you in the middle of night. Never once did I doubt you. You rest and come back as if you never stepped away. You’ve laid brick by brick by brick. You’ve sweat. You’ve lost sleep. You’ve stepped out and let the world know you’re here and you’re not ever leaving until the Good Lord calls you home. You’ve worked your ass off to be where you are today. There’s no way you have any quit in you. Not an once. It’s something about the fire in your chest. Something about your ability to understand, to listen, to consistently pound away at the mountains in front of you. Let them scoff. Let them mutter foolish things under their breath. Remember this: You stood up one day and said, “I Choose Me. I choose me.” And you know what’s great about that? It means they don’t have to. But for the record, I’d choose you every single for the rest of my life. I choose you too.

If you want to think about different ways to support your Creative Freedom Click here to read my latest post.

How to Create Space for Us

Photo by Jonas Ferlin on Pexels.com

In my last post Create * Space * For * Us * To * Lead I shared some stats from Racetolead.org about underrepresentation of the bipoc communtiy in nonprofit leadership, I discussed how micro aggressions kept me from being my best self, and how I want to find ways to make sure the bipoc community has access to leadership positions in the nonprofit sector.

I found this next article interesting. It discussed how many black leaders taking on leadership roles in large nonprofits are having to navigate things their white predecessor have not. Creating space for us to lead isn’t about just placing us into leadership roles. It’s changing the entire dynamic so that everyone as equal access to succeess.

Here’s a quote from The Chronicle if Philanthropy

Before Joe Scantlebury became chief executive of Living Cities in September, he knew he had a daunting task ahead.

An unnamed group of employees who had fled the nonprofit made it clear that they thought the organization needed a radical overhaul focused on removing racial bias from its operations.

By Alex Daniels
JANUARY 20, 2022

The article goes on to explain how Scantlbury and many others from the bipoc community are put in leadership in order to clean up racial issues all while dealing with biases within their own organizations. Here’s another quote

While 93 percent of white leaders who succeeded other white leaders said they felt their boards trusted them, that number plummeted to 77 percent among executives of color.

By Alex Daniels
JANUARY 20, 2022

Today, I wanted to discuss how to create space for us to lead.

First I’d like to focus on my community bipoc who are already in leadership. How can we be intentional about how we make more space for us to lead?

  1. Take time to research and understand how to navigate dialogue that focuses on the disparities among the bipoc cultures. (I’m still working on this myself) This isn’t only our responsibility everyone should be doing research on how to have tough conversations.
  2. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking on this topic for any reason, you are fully within your rights to say, “I’m not comfortable with this conversation. ”
  3. Bipoc in leadership, create jobs, grants, and policies that support upward momentum for bipoc individuals in your organization.
  4. Mentor who you can when you can. This is life saving!
  5. Believe them even when their experience is vastly different from yours.
  6. ***The most important of all** Take care of yourself mind body and soul so future bipoc leaders know how to do the same. Burned out leaders are only going to create more burned out leaders. REST!

Sources

https://www.philanthropy.com/article/new-nonprofit-leaders-of-color-bring-change-but-also-face-hurdles

Create * Space * So * We * Can * Lead

Recent studies have found that people of color are underrepresented in nonprofit leadership, making up just 8% of executive directors nationwide.

BY MORGAN C. MULLINGS NOVEMBER 5, 2020
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

Out of all respondents in the Race to Lead survey, 58% of people of color expressed an interest in becoming a leader in their nonprofit, while only 38% of white respondents said the same. 

BY MORGAN C. MULLINGS NOVEMBER 5, 2020

We have had a long and difficult year. We are dealing with loss, trauma, and some new anxieties due to pandemic stress. But I’m not talking about something new or due to pandemic stress here. I’m talking about something we’ve been struggling with since before the pandemic and now we in the bipoc community have pandemic stress on top of this.

I see nonprofits taking steps to make sure they’re being more inclusive in the nonprofit sector. It brings me joy. But at the end of the day, it’s not about what other nonprofit leaders are doing. It’s not even about what our future non profit is doing. It’s about what I’m doing as a human, who has endured racism, to create a world where bipoc will never have to endure it themselves, especially the underhanded microaggressions that typically get ignored.

Standing up for the bipoc community isn’t new to me. My natural hair journey started before the hype. It started when I finally found a black hairdresser who taught me to love my hair in all its beauty. She wouldn’t even touch my head with harmful chemicals. I needed that. But the one workplace I worked at didn’t make frizzy hair welcome. They said things like, “just cut it,” “Just style it,” “well, I use products and heat in my hair… ” I heard whispers and such that I also ignored. At that point there was no movement to support my natural hair journey. Not only was there no movement to give me some semblance of support, I am also mixed, raised by a white mom, who worked hard on doing my hair for years, even so there wasn’t a lot of accessible information that would teach me how to do my natural hair without using harmful products. So to sum it all up, I was stepping into a world where I was learning to love my natural hair while learning to style it without harmful products and heat, all while trying to make ends meet(they never met), all while fighting off burnout as a single mom. If I had a workplace where people took the time to understand my hair journey, my life would have been a little bit easier. At that point in my life, I would have gained the support I needed to keep going.

Having my own experiences, my college education, and my love for writing has taught me that making space for people who are underrepresented, is lifesaving. Exclusive behaviors in the workplace, realized or not, cause insecurity, feelings of negative self worth, and lead to depression and anxiety; especially for bipoc individuals with a poor support system.

Advancement can happen, the report found, when employees have proper support to move up. Yet more than half of white respondents said they found support through mentors within their organization, while less than half of people of color said the same.

BY MORGAN C. MULLINGS NOVEMBER 5, 2020

Speaking of support system, mentoring is the best way to create upward movement for the bipoc community in the workplace. Mentoring is proven time and time again to create a bridge to success. We know this. Why aren’t we doing more to make sure our bipoc friends and coworkers have the same access to support?

So to summarize, in the non profit sector, the bipoc community is underrepresented, they are less likely to be mentored in the workplace, and more of them want to step up and lead than those from the white community.

What am I going to do to make sure bipoc leaders get more access to leadership positions?

Looking for an amazing read by a Black Author? Look no further, I got a list of over a hundred black authors together for you

Called

A bible story that me and my husband both appreciate is the story of Moses. I love it so much, it inspired my first novel. The way stories are written in the bible it can feel like they aren’t detailed. The details are often in context of the bible as a whole or lost in translation. Whether left out details are intentional or not, we are [most times😂] given enough information to understand the significance of the story. I think the important details are there in the story of Moses. I mean, the story fascinated me so much that I wanted to fill in the blanks. (which means it’s inspiring) I wanted to give Pharaoh a backstory and I did. After a while, I think I burned myself out with all the research. I had to make sure I was writing with respect to the history of Egypt and the history of the Israelites. The excerpt from that novel is what got me into the Yale’s Writers Workshop which was an experience for sure. I shared the table with Ivey Leaguers, amazing writers from around the world, and had an author who taught at Brown facilitate our class of 12. I felt small for sure.

There’s a part in the story of Moses where he feels small. Even when God showed him he had all the tools he needed to do what he was called to do, he wasn’t confident. God showed him grace by sending a helper to be by his side. I just that so relatable. We could have all the tools and talents and everything in the world, but still feel small. But I must say, lack of confidence didn’t keep Moses from doing what he was called to do. No sir. He stuck it out till the end of his time here. We see Moses express a wide range of emotions and live a wide range of classes and still when he was called to get the job done, well, let’s just say God parted the Red Sea to make it happen.

Freedom to Grow

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 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 it gives us the strength to keep going when it seems all is 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 what tools I have to help me feel like I’m growing as an artist. Aka the tools that help me avoid burnout.

I’m going to quickly give you the three tools but if you’d like to learn more about how to leverage each tool Click here

Let’s find some different ways you can use experimentation, reading, and connecting with other writers to keep you inspired and interested. Inspiration and interest are like your shields against burn out, writers block, and stagnancy. 

Tools to Experience 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 some of those posts out 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.

  1. Freedom to Grow
  2. Freedom to Be Heard
  3. Freedom to Listen

I want to take some time to focus on the first one.

Freedom to Grow

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 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 it gives us the strength to keep going when it seems all is 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 what tools I have to help me feel like I’m growing as an artist. Aka the tools that help me avoid burnout.

I’m going to quickly give you the three tools but if you’d like to learn more about how to leverage each tool keep reading.

Let’s find some different ways you can use experimentation, reading, and connecting with other writers to keep you inspired and interested. Inspiration and interest are like your shields against burn out, writers block, and stagnancy. Okay, let’s dive deeper.

Experimentation

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.

  • Formatting 
  • Writing styles
  • Character development
  • Different Types of writing
  • Different mediums (painting, acting, sculpting)
  • Tone
  • Time
  • 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 out of comfort and 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. Remind yourself why you enjoy the genre you write in OR maybe you’ll find your experiment is exactly what’s missing in your life. You never know if you don’t try. 

Read

Read everything.

Magazines
Blogs
Non fiction
Fiction
Comics
Sales pitches
business writing
eBooks
paperbacks
hard covers
large print
unpublished works
screenplays

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 other writers 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. 

But to make it easier here’s a link with a list of books by international writers

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
  • Email
  • Send a uplifting DM
  • Post your own work
  • Respond
  • 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.

Frankenstein’s Monster

Why are we so ashamed of our own messed up creations. All Frankenstein had to do to avoid all the lost lives, was learn to appreciate his first creation.

There’s a couple memes that I’ve seen floating around that talk about how we cringe when we look back on our own writing. I laugh because I can totally relate. I cringe at my past writings and thoughts and ignorance. I think it’s part of the whole growth process for all of us.

It’s evidence of growth. It’s inspiring to see how far you’ve come. Enjoy the cringe moment as much as you can.

Just don’t get so busy laughing at your past self that it turns to shame. Take time to respect the process you’ve gone through to get where you are today. Don’t let a meme floating around make you feel like you don’t deserve to be the writer you are today. You are the writer you are today because of the days you wrote when you had no idea what you were doing.

Keep Your Head Up

FREEDOM TO GROW

Fact #1

I’m going to share the basic fact about Freedom to grow That everyone should know. Before I knew what Freedom to Grow was and felt like, I was always struggling to break free from oppression. I eventually came to realize that I wasn’t ever going to feel free inside the box I placed myself in. This led to burn out that led to so many great friendships but also back allies, bad choices, suicidal thoughts, and lovers with no commitment.

Finally I created a space where I was so free I couldn’t help but rise. Which brought me to the #1 and most basic fact when it comes to freedom to grow.

Before we even get to the number one fact about Freedom to grow 😆 let’s talk about what blocks your freedom to grow?

Here’s one example For me

I don’t have freedom to grow and feel boxed in when I can’t ask questions and speak on the things going on inside me good or bad. I know my side of the story doesn’t always need to be told but if I have the courage to speak about my side of the story around you, you are valuable to me.

🥳➡️Question Time⬅️🥳

What hinders your freedom to grow?

💡💡💡Remember #sharingiscaring co create with me 😁😁 Let’s build a world where freedom to grow is accessible for everyone. 💡💡💡

Shout out to @keithslatebuthere
And @nell_chickabee
For really getting deep with their own thoughts on Freedom to grow. You guys inspired me to keep going!