A reminder of how brilliant you are and how much the world needs your stories. Listen before you sit down to write or when the page is taunting you with its blankness.
Filtering by Category: Genius Unlocked
IF YOU'RE READING THIS, YOU ARE A GENIUS.
Deeply gifted and full of bright potential. If you aren't feeling your genius at this particular moment, let me give you a spark:
Your writing is needed - now more than ever. Your words matter. It may feel like you’re just sitting in a chair, clacking away at a laptop, but you’re changing lives. You’re offering hope where there was none. Your stories offer relief and your ideas offer wisdom and your willingness to shine a flashlight on the murkiest edges of your own humanity help us see that we are all murky - and we all have light.
We all have the key that unlocks our genius. Maybe it was buried years ago and now you need to dig for it. Maybe you tossed it into a hydrangea bush and walked away. Maybe you just need to try your key in a new door.
Spoiler alert: the key to our art is the key to ourselves, and the key to ourselves is the key to our art.
If you’re willing to pull out the demons hiding behind your rib cage and the gremlins creeping about your skull, you will find your key. It’s not always easy, it’s certainly not always fun, but I promise you - if you keep moving, keep taking care of yourself, keep creating, and keep digging into the messy bits of your life and soul - it will get fun.
You know those terrible "you're not good enough" "why are you even trying" "you'll never have what it takes to do that" thoughts that plague even the most evolved and grounded of individuals?
Yeah, they bug me too. Now, instead of battling them (which only seems to make them bigger and angrier), I use a trick given to me by the amazing Trina Harmon.
The video down there shares my favorite exercise for gently whisking the brain gremlins out of my head and into my heart, where they drop quietly to sleep. Perfect for when your head and all those mean little thoughts are getting in the way of something you're writing, doing, or being.
The world needs you desperately.
Your words matter. It may feel like you’re just sitting in a chair, clacking away at your laptop, but you are doing more than you will ever know. You are changing lives. You are shifting energy — yours and that of your readers. You are offering hope where there was none. You are a spark where darkness once reigned. Your stories offer relief and your ideas offer wisdom and your willingness to shine a flashlight on the murkiest edges of your humanity shows us that we are all murky — and we all have light.
Your life and your work and your art are required — now more than ever. Your writing matters deeply to the quiet souls who will never reach out to you, because they’re clinging to your sentences like life rafts. Your writing matters to those who do reach out but are less kind than your tender artistic soul might hope, because they’re so lost in their own misery they don’t see the beacon you’re shining for what it is — until many years later when something you once penned comes to them in a broken moment and offers a crack of illumination to their midnight. Your words matter to the friends and family and readers who adore you, both for yourself and for the words you give them for experiences they can’t explain. You bring hope, connection, healing, and light to those who can’t always find it for themselves.
Your words matter. If something is hiding in you that you’ve been longing to type out for others, then you are a writer — whether you have five readers or five million. And you have genius.
Don’t be alarmed by the word “genius.” Throwing that word around can be a trigger. Utter the g-word and every brain gremlin that ever assembled around your frontal lobe to cackle over your perceived failures and missed targets shows up with pitchforks to spear you. Roasting you over the flame, they howl so loudly that the voice of your wiser self — the one who knows you cannot fail, that you are whole, that you have worlds to offer — is drowned out.
But genius you are. Because you are here, because you have lived and you have stories and heartbreak and a command of words to illuminate what others can only feel. But if you’re not feeling your own genius right at this very moment, let me give you a spark.
See that small light, right here in front of you?
Faith that I will hold for you until you can hold it for yourself.
Follow this small light.
As you do, trust that other sparks will appear — sometimes off in the distance but often right in front of you.
Follow those small lights, those small sparks, and you will get where you need and want to go.
You will find your path.
And realize you’ve been on it all along.
I truly — madly, deeply, right-down-to-my-very-soul — believe you are here right now, reading these words, because you are a genius. Deeply gifted and full of potential and bright love tempered by messy humanity. You love what you do, you feel compelled and pulled and drawn by something you rarely understand — and you are so deeply needed in this world.
I’ve become obsessed with helping other writers (and artists and creators and makers and dreamer-doers) because I believe that together we can help each other learn our secrets — the secrets of our stories, our souls, our own innate wisdom. I’ve logged many years and many miles down this path but, as we all know, that path never ends. It’s always stretching out before us, ready to show us something new, something surprising. In one twist the path can shatter our world. But as we move down the next curve, our world is set to rights and our faith restored.
Sometimes with just one small match.
We all have the key that unlocks our genius. Maybe it was buried years ago and now we need to dig for it. Maybe we tossed into a hydrangea bush and walked away for awhile. Maybe you just need to try your key in a new door.
The key to our art is the key to ourselves. The key to ourselves is the key to our art.
In my experience, the key to life is simply feeling better. However we can from where ever we are. Learning how to feel better peels away the layers and shows us new doors and reminds us where that damn hydrangea bush is.
Art is meant to help people sob to their favorite country song or watch a movie and hope or read a story that gives them courage to confront what feels insurmountable. Artists make that stuff to help the world feel better. But artists need help feeling better too.
I want to help you to feel better — about yourself, your art, your path through the world, and the progress you’re making.
As we begin recognizing ourselves as the whole, loved, and profoundly human beings we are, we watch our writing soar. We write the pieces of our lives and souls that we long to write — and we help shift the world. Because that’s what writing can do if you’re willing to know yourself, dig deep into your soul, pull out the demons hiding in your rib cage and the gremlins creeping about your skull. It’s not always easy, it’s certainly not always fun, but I promise you — if you keep moving, keep taking care of yourself, keep creating, and keep digging into the messy bits of your life and soul — it will get fun.
Instead of constantly pushing, you’ll feel pulled. Instead of wondering what’s next or what do I do now or how do I do it — you’ll allow your intuition and a deep sense of quiet knowing to guide you. And it will feel right and propel you farther and faster than you would’ve dreamed possible.
This is my vision for us and I would love to hold it for you. Until you’re ready to hold it for yourself — and for others. Or, if you’ve been doing the holding — for so many people, for so long — let me pick it up and carry it for awhile. You’ve been pushing that boulder up the hill for long enough. It’s time to let it crest the hill and be swept up in the joy that comes from chasing that boulder, laughing as it picks up speed, careening through grassy knolls and ancient redwoods and past startled elephants. As we’re pulled by the work we’re here to do, we find the peace that comes from claiming the path we know is ours.
Love and all the matches I have,
One of the things I've been lucky enough to do in my life is flit around the globe like a wandering gnat, parking myself in Costa Rica or Amsterdam for long enough to learn that I probably shouldn't drive anywhere south of San Diego. When people ask how I do that, I reply, "Because my laptop is my office." Living in the digital age is sweet - and if you like to write and don't mind hustling, you can make a pretty good living from anywhere with internet access. (I love writing, I love traveling, I hate hustling. Two out of three isn't bad.)
But when Chris Guillebeau asked if I'd be interested in creating something on freelance writing for his series of unconventional guides, I said, "YES, PLEASE, ABSOLUTELY" - while feeling like a complete and utter fraud. Every single reason why I shouldn't be the one to write this guide filtered through my brain. Do I know every step of the process for living this life? Yes. Do I know how to talk to other people who have deeper insight into each piece of that process? Yes. Do I still have a brain that is ready and willing to give me a complete and seemingly accurate list of why I shouldn't be the one to do this? Yup.
Any time you push your boundaries, there will be growing pains. The key is to dig deep, understand what you bring to the table - and effing bring it. If you have the desire to be a freelance writer, you can do it. You aren't given the desire without also being given the aptitude. So if this is something you've ever wanted to try, I encourage you to start. Start today. Whether you use this guide we just spent six months creating or by pulling up the google search bar and getting lucky - just begin. Anywhere. Because if you want to do it, you can do it. Sure, you may feel like a bit of a fraud, especially at the beginning. We all feel like frauds sometimes. Even those of us who've been doing it for years. You just have to keep pushing.
If you ever have questions, feel free to email me. I may have an answer for you, I may not. But if writing is something you want to do with your life, I will share anything I've got with you. Writing can be a lonely road sometimes - and we should stick together. Because it's when you find your people that the road starts to get fun.