“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
― May Sarton
I was so happy to find this quote by author and poet May Sarton. Besides being a prolific writer of novels and poetry, she kept journals and published them.
Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude is my favorite. I have highlights and notes on just about every other page.
Here are a few (it was hard to choose!):
How one lives as a private person is intimately bound into the work. And at some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth.
If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can about each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.
Reading that quote again gave me an extra jolt of courage after publishing Brave Enough the other day.
I was so encouraged, I cleared a big space and re-read all of Journal of a Solitude, which I hadn’t done in a long while.
It relit the fire for the book I want to write next, mentioned in the Brave Enough essay.
Back to May:
I am proud of being fifty-eight, and still alive and kicking, in love, more creative, balanced, and potent than I have ever been.
Lunches are just not good. They take the heart out of the day and the spaciousness from the morning’s work.
I write too many letters and too few poems. It may be outwardly silent here but in the back of my mind is a clamor of human voices, too many needs, hopes, fears. I hardly ever sit still without being haunted by the “undone” and the “unsent.” I often feel exhausted, but it is not my work that tires (work is a rest); it is the effort of pushing away the lives and needs of others before I can come to the work with any freshness and zest.
All quotes from May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude
Journal of a Solitude was published in 1972. Oh, May! How would you feel today with email and blogging filling up so many writer’s lives?
Every time she talks about being cranky with all the letters she gets, or how she feels depleted after going out to lecture and teach, I feel relieved and reassured.
It’s normal for artists to struggle with this balance of doing the creative work (internal) and marketing and selling the work (external).
Keeping a journal that is just for you is a sacred act. It creates a sacred place where you can begin telling the truth about what makes you happy, what you love, what turns you on, what you want more of, less of.
You can explore this more and find some more journal prompts in my post: telling the truth about what makes us happy.
Today’s Journal Prompts:
If I dared to be myself, I’m afraid…
If I dared to be myself, I’m excited…
When I dare to be myself, it’s strange…
When I dare to be myself, this kind of genius emerges…
The Journal Prompts in this Post Are Included in the FIRE: 30 Day Journal Project Printables
During the first journal challenge, I found that having the prompts printed out in advance helped me get right into my writing for the day.
The 30 Day Journal Project Printables are designed to make your journaling quicker, easier, and more organized.
This is my lazy writing & journaling method. It works!
Included: 30 days of prompts & quotes (plus one bonus day) with 2 different layout designs
FIRE: PRINTABLES | $18
Whether you are brand new to writing or journaling or simply want to break out of a rut in your creative practice, these printable prompts make it fast and easy to get going.
See All 30 Day Journal Printable Designs
There are four different sets of 30 Day Journal Project Printables, beautifully designed, each with a different theme.
Use the printables on your own, or with The 30 Day Journal Workshop
Come on over to my studio in Mexico (via video!) where I’ll show you how to journal with intention and focus as we create two different kinds of handmade journals. It all happens in The 30 Day Journal Project Workshop, designed for experienced and brand new journalers alike!