More signs and serendipity

I suck.

My new mantra has been echoing in my mind for the past few months. It’s actually not so new, but hadn’t been lurking around for a while—that is, until I stopped writing, until I stopped creating.

Why did I stop?

Because I sold out my creative dreams and creative journey, returning six months ago to a full-time corporate job. I sold out to avoid hyperventilating over lumpy consulting revenue streams. I sold out my creative peeps who are so diligently trying to create and inspire others on their own creative paths. I sold out the writers I have advised, hypocritically I might add, to ‘just write,’ despite their understandable fears, reasonable excuses, and busy lives.

Did I mention I suck?

Having said that, I’ll admit that a smarter (and much kinder) part of me senses that I may have some of this story backwards…that I might have perpetuated a cycle of not creating, believing that a creative journey looked a certain way. This sounds like a good place to retrace my steps and find out where I might have gotten off track.

A year ago, I started this blog as an act of courage. It was time to put myself out there, to take some risks—and trust the universe with the rest. I wrote what I felt inspired to write, trying to not worry whether people would like it, which was a big step for me.

I wrote some so-so things, and I wrote some very good pieces. I knew they were good because they felt good while writing them. Really, really good. I knew they were good because readers commented that what I had written was exactly what they needed to hear that day.

Along the way, I attracted a small, but loyal and very encouraging group of readers. And through the strange, connected world we live in, I became Facebook friends with an old friend from high school, who occasionally popped up on my radar having Liked one of my posts. Then one day, after reading a post, she reached out to me, asking if I was interested in a job opening where she worked.

Wait. Smarter-Kinder Me is telling me to rewind that:

A friend, whom I hadn’t talked to in years, thought of me for a job because of an article on my blog. And when that job didn’t work out, an even better job surfaced through this same friend. The whole series of events was so compelling that I happily accepted the job.


Ok, now that I read that back, I can see the flaw in my original thinking—and opening paragraph. As unlikely as this story might seem, it is how everything happened. Or, better said, it’s how everything unfolded beautifully, brilliantly…serendipitously.

When I started to write this article, I imagined committing to writing more and more often—to embarking on a new phase of my own creative journey. All of which would be true, but fraught with the potential for missteps and more self-criticism.

So, I’ll simply remind myself that I started this blog as an act of courage, not as an obligation, or a test, or something that I could fail while not doing. And I named it Signs & Serendipity, which would seem to allow room for creative detours, exploration, and growth in unexpected directions—wouldn’t you think? At the very least, it allows plenty of room for a new mantra.

8 thoughts on “More signs and serendipity”

  1. Carolyn,
    I just wanted you to know that I have enjoyed every single piece you have written, and each one has challenged me to reevaluate my own path. I don’t care how often you post, just that you do. You are courageous, inspirational, and I am so glad you decided to embark on this creative journey. Thank you for putting yourself out there and making a difference in my life.

  2. I often hear those words ringing in my head as well! Life has a funny way of working out, in ways we never quite imagine. I also think there is a natural ebb and flow to creativity and that taking a break can actually help, as long as you do embrace your creative efforts when the flow returns. And too many people assume corporate means creative death. I’m pleased to have job security so I can create, if I want, for the pure pleasure of creation! Someday I may try my hand at full time creative work but until then… I’m sure you can work both for personal fulfillment and success, in both your professional and creative life. I certainly hope to do the same! Best wishes.

    1. Wise words, Carrie! Creativity takes so many forms–something I need to keep reminding myself. And balance is a very good thing–so is appreciating the entire creative process. Love that you are on that particular journey.

  3. “I wrote some so-so things, and I wrote some very good pieces.” This, Carolyn, is a beautiful piece.

    I think it’s great that you found a rewarding full-time job through the serendipity of this blog. (Maybe the same karma will come to me; I posted on The Artist’s Road today that I’m looking for FT work.) And it’s great that you can give yourself permission to post, or not post, as you wish.

    You are as courageous now as you were when you launched this blog. And there are many ways to pursue what you refer to as your “own creative journey.” You can embrace creative moments in your job. You can journal, or write insightful comments on others’ blogs, or write breathtaking Facebook messages to friends from high school.

    I’d tell you to stay focused on your creativity, but you don’t need me to tell you that. This post tells me you will.

    1. Patrick – thank you, thank you. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your encouragement. Your perseverence has inspired me, and your nudge definitely did. Where I thought the inspiration had dried up, I’m suddenly discovering that this is just a new chapter in the continued journey. (A huge relief, by the way.)

      I did see that you started looking for FT work, and will only say, keep the faith. The universe works in very curious ways…. Have a great weekend!

  4. You don’t suck, you just think you’re busier than you actually are. Always remember the words of the Greek warrior-poet Archilochus, “We do not rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” Write. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day.
    Peace & grace,

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