One of the scariest things for me in getting Elsie Road Magazine up and running is the thought of it losing its lustre. There was this husband and wife team of bloggers (Young House Love), that ran this super successful and amazing blog for around 7 years. Then one day they announced that they were quitting blogging. It made me so sad. Like weirdly so. Was I too invested in their lives? Was I going to miss the DIY projects and home renos (that I never actually attempted)? Was it because it felt a little like a friend told me they didn’t want to be friends anymore? Although it was possibly a bit of all those things, mostly it was because they weren’t happy. The blog that had been a dream for them had drifted so far from their dreams that they willingly walked away from it.
It’s a good example of why I was afraid of taking a creative risk and really starting up Elsie Road. I’ve dreamed about something like this for a long time and putting it out there means that it’s susceptible to criticism; to hard days; to highs and lows. If it stays a dream it will always be shiny and happy and include people laughing (R.E.M. reference there). But if I go for it and make it a reality, there’s a chance that one day it will run its course. That it will become irrelevant, that no one will share in my dream, or that I will willingly walk away from it. But if I never go for it, it will never become more than a dream. And I think that’s even more sad.
Creating can be hard and scary and confusing. But the beautiful thing is, it doesn’t have to be. While I’ve been tinkering behind the scenes, fretting and stalling, an email landed in my inbox. It was a Marie Forleo video interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. You might know her as the author of Eat Pray Love, but she’s also written a bunch of other great books (one of which I have on my bookshelf). She shared a ton of creative gems, including the idea that creativity doesn’t need to serve and it won’t be entirely unique. “What moves me is the humanity in an authentic piece of creation. Where somebody was doing something—whatever it was—because they had to, because they wanted to, because it brought them to life, because it ignited their soul; that’s what gives the shimmer of gold to something and makes me feel like my heart’s been changed, my mind’s been changed.”
When the idea of Elsie Road first came into my head, there was definitely the component of helping others, but mostly I wanted to create a place where I could write and create and not feel like I had to put my faith under a blanket. I love writing; I love creating; I love beautiful magazines; I love sharing stories. I don’t want to create like a martyr. God created me to live, to be creative, to serve him, to hold onto joy. There’s no need for me to insist on carrying a burden that Jesus has already carried—even in my creativity.
That doesn’t mean the stories here won’t be real or hard. They most definitely will be. But I am going to do my very best to create from a place of joy, because it brings me to life, and to serve no one but the God who made me. As Elizabeth Gilbert proposed, “We’re only here for such a short time. Let’s drive off another cliff.” Care to jump with me?