Austin Kleon reminds us that we’re verbs, not nouns, and over the past month I’ve taken this to heart as I’ve re-evaluated everything about my creative life. For years, I’ve labelled this website as “Grace Wen: Writer,” and I suppose that made sense when I was focused on getting published, building a “brand” (I hate that term, as if we should permanently mark ourselves like cattle), and everything else writers are “supposed” to do to attract attention. But calling myself a writer always felt so limiting.
So I changed the tagline of my website to “Music, writing, and other things I’m learning.” It reflects where I’m at in my life right now a lot more accurately. I’m still writing, of course, and I’m now studying music again (which feels like coming home–ahhhhhhh…). I’m also dabbling with kawaii doodles. The key difference is that I’m not identifying myself by any of those activities. They’re what I do, not what I am.
Will any of this lead anywhere? I have no idea, and at this point I’m done with specific goals (essentially nouns) that I have little control over. Learn, practice, make, share, repeat–those are the verbs I’d rather concentrate on.