by Maria Koropecky, Storytelling Coach

Hello, Spiritual Storytellers!

Have you ever felt the fear of being judged? Worried about what others might think of your creative work? Well, you’re not alone. It’s a common writer’s block, one I’ve grappled with myself. Today, I want to share a true story about how I broke through this block for myself!

Ever been haunted by the fear of judgment when writing or sharing your stories? It’s something we’ve all felt. Today, I want to share a story from a recent nature walk, where I came across a woodpecker who gave me an insight and helped me turn this writer’s block around.

It has been a year since I first self-published my novel, Closer to Indigo and I still get a little bit nervous when someone tells me they have bought and/or read my book. Most people don’t say anything about whether they liked it or not which makes me question if my writing is any good. I wish people would be honest with their experience of reading my book rather than leading me to make up the story, right or wrong, that they didn’t like it at all. And then I feel judged and that hurts because I really do want people to like the creative work I do.

But even so, I still put myself out there and wrestle with this “occupational hazard.” As a way to manage my insecurities and stress, I like to practice some sort of self-care like journaling.

This time when things got a little heavy for me, I decided to go for a walk in nature. I needed a change of scene, a chance to clear my mind, and maybe I’d find some inspiration along the way.

So, I grabbed my GoPro on a sunny afternoon and set out to walk through my neighborhood. I took pictures of brightly-coloured plants, looking for something in all of the primary colors at the beginning of the autumn season, and then, as if by magic, I heard an echo in the trees. As I followed the sound, I looked up and saw a woodpecker, fully engrossed in his work, chipping away at a tree.

I had never seen a woodpecker on this path before and I thought he looked “sporty” with his bright colours. At first I wondered if he was causing any damage to the tree and judged it a little, but then I thought woodpeckers must have some sort of purpose in the life of a forest, otherwise they wouldn’t be there at all.

When I got home, I did a little research and I was right. The woodpecker is an integral part of the forest ecosystem and it serves a vital role. By pecking at the bark of a tree, the hard-working birds uncover and eat insects, their eggs and larvae which continues the cycle of life.

Also, the holes they leave behind make nests for several other birds that can’t make their own shelters like: nuthatches, creepers, wrens, bluebirds, some swallows and flycatchers, and even small owls.

And coincidentally enough, the Woodpecker’s telltale pecking sound and holes they leave in the bark are also a form of communication, whether they’re helping out their neighbours or staking out some territory or looking for a mate! It’s kinda like typing words on a typewriter! The woodpeckers are telling their own stories!

So grateful I had my camera with me and as I observed this woodpecker, I realized something profound. Woodpeckers don’t care what others think. The woodpeckers keep doing their jobs whether they’re understood or not! They don’t worry about being judged for the holes they make in the trees or the sounds they make for all to hear. They don’t apologize for doing their thing! They’re entirely focused on their own rhythm, their own purpose and that’s that!

And that’s my insight!

And if you’d like my coaching to help you catch your own insights and blast through your own writer’s blocks, check out my new Rock Star Storyteller coaching program in the description below.

And the next time you find yourself trapped in the fear of judgment, worried about what other people might think of your creative work, remember our little woodpecker friend and just keep going. Embrace your unique rhythm and your authentic voice and create what you like anyway!

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