The Creative life – off the script

Nathan Bransford always has something interesting to say about books, is someone I’d love to have edit my writing and always provides me with sage writing advice. I’ve followed his blogs since I started this dream of being an author.

His latest post about the creative life talks about stepping ‘off the script’. I take that to mean questioning the way society expects us to lead our lives and the necessity of moving away from those expectations in order to live a creative life. Here’s a quote from his latest post:

Few things expose society’s script more than trying to step off it entirely, which, I’d argue, you must do if you are hoping to pursue meaningful creativity in your life.

It’s a challenging way to think, perhaps difficult for many people to practically and financially accomplish and yet I’m glad he brought it up.

‘Big Magic’ writer Elizabeth Gilbert advises not quitting your day job to be an author (or any other creative pursuit) and Bransford states the difficulty clearly –

Stepping off the script is extremely difficult for two main reasons:

  1. Our entire society is organized around paying for things and, well, you have to figure out how to pay for things.
  2. At every step of the way, people in your life and influential cultural winds will push you to stay on script.

For #1, the challenge can be enormously difficult, but the contours are straightforward: You have to find enough money to cover your expenses.

For #2, the challenge seems easier but is more opaque: You have to resist the influence people have over you and the pushes and pulls when you try to step onto a different course.

As someone who’s pursuing a ‘different course’, I find this highly relatable! Although, for me, it’s sometimes less what others say or do to sway me – since I’m quite determined to remain off the script – than my own ‘imposter’ mindset and view of how others perceive my choices, that gets in the way.

So I’d add to the above: You have to resist the influence your former life and inner critic have over you and the pushes and pulls of your own mind as it tries to point out the possible idiocy of said path. lol. As Gilbert would say, and I paraphrase, tell your inner critic to get in the back seat because you’re driving this Mustang and you have the wheel!

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