Digging Deep for Courage

As I mentioned earlier, after finishing the monumental rewrite (nope, haven’t run out of hyperbole yet), I did find myself discouraged and down. And as I dug myself out of it with the bright light of a new story idea, I began to think of courage. Which led me to Justin Timberlake.

Yes, really.

Hold on, don’t run away. What I started thinking about was his courage. Now, I’m old enough to remember N’Sync, and as I got older, it felt almost a responsibility to discard what had been acceptable in high school for more “grown up” alternatives. And I remember watching some concert that was predominantly rock – it may have been a new year’s special – and one of Justin Timberlake’s first appearances as a solo artist. After heavy rock bands and full accompaniment, he came onto the stage only with a keyboard and alone, and started to sing. The audience at the event shrieked and booed him. People even booed him. They threw things at him, like drinks. And despite it all, he continued to play, until finally, either the song was over, or he left for his own safety. At the time, I was rather amused.

Today, I can only admire that kind of courage and tenacity. Because look at what it’s gained him? Today, he has a very successful career spanning not only music but also movies. In fact, I really like the characters he plays in movies, and he strikes me as a good or nice person (or maybe that’s just his image, but that’s what comes across).

And today, I admire him for his courage.

As we choose to embark on a career of creativity and art, whether it’s writing, painting, acting, singing, whatever, we face a pretty steep battle. And perhaps more so than when you pursue a more mainstream career, criticism can come fast and furious. It’s easy to doubt your ability, to doubt your dreams, or wonder if maybe you’re heading down the wrong path. Sometimes, it’s easier to give up than keep fighting, because it can feel like a battle, to keep creating, to stay positive despite all odds, despite the number of rejections, despite the light of hope quickly smothered by yet more rejection. But I’ve never actually had anyone throw something at me and endured the kind of attack Timberlake did. And yet he still kept singing.

I have to admire him for that kind of courage, and where he is somehow seems more deserved. And yes, I am very likely simplifying an exhausting journey of his career – which will continue to evolve and change throughout his lifetime as it does for all of us. So if I’m wrong about some of the facts, my sincere apologies, and instead, may we just admire that idea of courage if nothing else.

And above all else, keep singing your song, keep painting your vision, and keep writing your words. You’re an artist. That’s your job.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a courage-filled week. 🙂