Happy New Year! I took a break during the holidays to refresh and consider what I wanted this year to look like for Wind & Spindle.
Last year I experienced what I would call a die-off. Much like the body destroys illnesses to clear its system, last year was a time of me navigating what I want to do and what to set aside. I want to talk my experience with creative die-off, and how the dying of dreams is actually a healthy part of creativity.
In the Beginning
My blogging journey began in 2017 with a fashion (and lifestyle-ish) blog. It was my intention that I turn it into an income (I had no job and had declining health at the time). By 2018 I had expanded to my blog to a wider range of topics, but I was still trying to make affiliate links work.
May came and my body was wasting away. I had the time to think about what I really wanted to do with my life (funny how facing death makes you think this way). I decided to prioritize my novel writing and photography, and minimize blogging.
I removed all affiliate links and decided not to bother with it again. My posts went down to one a week, but I fell right back into making it work (this time with Amazon affiliates). I tried to blog only about certain topics—creativity, guides…I tried to corner myself in a thousand different niches because I believed I had to be specific.
This past December I woke up one morning and penned my first post titled “On the Dying of Dreams.” It was a bit of an emotional burst of frustration, and in
Fortunately, I had enough coherency to recognize that something wasn’t quite right, so I let the post sit a week. One week later I came to it with a brighter tone, but I was still convinced of the same plan for 2019 (though this time I wasn’t going to delete all the social media accounts). Something still didn’t feel right, and I let the post sit again for a time.
Two days ago I was watching someone on youtube and I was struck by a bunch of ideas for Wind & Spindle. I said, “Mary, you’re not doing this anymore.” No matter how many times I said this to myself, I couldn’t rid myself of the desire to blog.
It was then that I wondered if my perception of my dying dreams was wrong. I sat for a bit and considered what had happened this past year. It was a bit like brushing through a pile of pulled weeds to see if there were any flowers growing in the mess…and I found such rich blooms it surprised me.
Rediscovering a Dream
I realized how much I loved and wanted to make blogging work. Not in the way I originally intended, but to create a place on the internet with interesting, thoughtful articles that would help people grow, think, create, and live better. It occurred to me that the same way I felt and thought about blogging contained the same enthusiasm as photography and creative writing. When I stopped it—just as I when I stopped writing or photographing—I missed it.
Six and a half years ago after I graduated college I decided I would only devote myself to one creative work (novel writing) because that was what I was best at. I tucked photography into the back of my mental sock drawer and pursued my sincere career of being a novelist because I believed I should only work in one creative medium because I had to be successful at it. When Lyme came and stole the creative writing away I picked up fashion, photography, and blogging. Over time I learned the importance of allowing myself to create in multiple forms and not necessarily have a career or be the most successful in it.
The funny thing was I had repeated my mistake, thinking if I pursued photography and creative writing I couldn’t blog too. I had interpreted the uncomfortable creative process I went through last year as a sign that blogging should stop, but in reality it was becoming what it was meant to be. Old ideas had to wither, and I had to develop important boundaries. It was no longer a tool for money or success, but a means to communicate and share my thoughts with the world.
Coming to an End
Most cultures don’t treat quitting well. Or stopping. Or giving up. It is often marked by failure and defeat. Sometimes, it is the most important step you can take as an artist.
There are times when you need to let a dream pass on in order to let something greater come along. Some of those dreams will vanish. Others might become hobbies or daydreams. And sometimes it blooms in a later season in a different way.
Dreams need not be pursued exactly, or to the best of our abilities. Dreams can simply be a joy we cherish in a small way, or a goal we pursue until life changes cause us to put it on the shelf. We don’t have to justify a dream by making it our career or even bringing it to life.
I don’t know how long this blog will last, or if it will ever amount to what people call success. Regardless, I’m chasing it in the little ways I can. If I need give it up in the future, that’s fine. If it needs to step aside for my writing or photography, then it can. Who knows, maybe I will write less big creative projects in my life and that will be the dream to step aside for a time.
However this turns out, it is a journey and a process. It is the birthing of ideas, the fostering of hopes, and ending of dreams in completions and unfinished attempts. We need not be ashamed when an idea never leaves the mind, or when something fails to grow into what we wish. There are times and seasons for all things.
Dreams are but imaginings, and to bring them into the world, indeed, even to dream them is to have lived a more vivid life than one with no dreams at all.
So don’t be afraid to dream this year. Don’t be afraid to fall. Some dreams will die, but some will live. We growth through both.