Many years ago, when I was considering a job opportunity, a wise mentor who knew me well said, “I think you need to ask if there will be time in your schedule to clear for creativity.” This seemed like a strange request to make to a potential employer, so I asked my mentor to say more. “You are a writer’s writer and a true creative, which means you need creative space to breathe and allow the words to come through.”
At the time, reader, I thought to myself that I could never think of myself that way, as a “writer’s writer” or a “true creative.” They seemed like shoes too big for me to fill, a cloak from the dress-up closet, a name I would never live up to. And so, despite the wisdom of this mentor, I did not make the request of my employer before accepting the job. Within several months, I knew I’d made a mistake. I felt like the end of the tube of toothpaste, rolled up, squeezed out, pressed down, and empty, with no time to create but only do.
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