What does it mean to be called to the spotlight?

Being in the spotlight means having your creative work witnessed and responded to by an audience.

It means being read, seen, heard.

Being in the spotlight means having an audience.

Whenever our work is seen, we are seen.

  • If you’re a novelist, you’re in the spotlight when you publish your work, whether you publish it online or in print. Writers are in the spotlight through their books, articles, on their websites, at public readings, and in interviews.
  • If you’re a blogger, you’re in the spotlight every time you hit the publish button. People are reading your words, thinking about them, and responding to them.
  • Artists are in the spotlight whenever you share your creative work, and receive feedback on it. Think of gallery showings, exhibits, and studio tours. Or website galleries online.
  • Actors are in the spotlight when you are on stage, on the big screen, or on television. And celebrity actors are in the spotlight anytime they are in public.
  • Screenwriters are in the spotlight when the movies you’ve written play on the big screen or when someone reviews your writing publicly.
  • Poets, journalists, public speakers, radio broadcasters, and many more professions are seen, heard, and read.

Are you called to the spotlight?

Being called to the spotlight means feeling drawn to being seen. To expressing yourself in some public forum.

You can be “called” to the spotlight by an inner draw to it, but you may not realize you have the call — at least not consciously — until you see it written in your hands.

Are you a “hermit” in the spotlight?

I’m surprised to discover how many people have “Spotlight” markings in their hands when I analyze them, often in direct contradiction to their earthy, “hermit” heart lines; watery, sensitive hands, and their personality traits that have them strongly preferring peace, quiet, home, and solitude as a general rule.

Many artists, actors, introverts, sensitives, empaths, and writers much prefer the solitary life, but still feel some pull to sharing their work and being seen, read or heard in some way.

Having contradictory feelings about it does not mean you don’t have the call.

Until I was told I had an Apollo Star gift marking, I was never able to totally reconcile the appeal of being seen by audience and my desire to cocoon myself. I’ve come to think of myself as a “Hermit in the Spotlight,” writing away to my audience of over 4000 readers, and sometimes speaking to them as well.

Does audience size matter?

If only one person reads, sees, or hears it, is that being in the spotlight? Is that an audience?

It’s a good question.

I think the answer is, not yet. Not quite. But soon. With your next witness, yes, it’s starting to grow.

What fascinates me is the low level of frustration I can experience if my audience “isn’t big enough,” and by that I mean, it doesn’t satisfy my inner barometer of enough people.

(This is partially connected to my “Impatient Visionary” streak — more on this in a future post.)

When it has truly felt like “enough” have been the times I’ve spoken to over 100 people at a given time on a conference call, at a speaking event, or over a live streaming broadcast.

Do you feel reluctant to be seen, heard, or read, but know you want to or are supposed to be in the spotlight?

Despite having the call to the spotlight, and maybe even having a passion for it, we have to be conscious of not allowing our sensitive selves to always run the show and keep us playing it safe. Sometimes we need to stretch ourselves by reaching for more and a greater connection with our audiences.

As my teacher Sonia Choquette always says, “Don’t let your big Buts stop you.” :)

Your Turn

Are you called to the spotlight? How do you feel about it? What are your biggest challenges? I’d love to hear from you in the comments on this post.



As sensitives, how can we be more comfortable being seen, heard, and read in the spotlight?

It isn’t always easy, but we can learn to be more comfortable in the spotlight. That said, being 100% comfortable isn’t the ultimate goal — it’s about being comfortable enough to take the risk of being seen.

Here’s what you need to understand:

  • The pitfalls empathic sensitives tend to fall into when engaging with others, especially an audience.
  • How an introvert’s brain works, which can make you feel intimidated about speaking in public.
  • Why sensitives may not perform well under pressure, and what we can do about it.
  • The hand analysis gift marking that points to being “in the spotlight” and how to identify it.
  • How to deal with “tomato fears” (the fear of having rotten tomatoes thrown at you) and other creative expression challenges.

I’ll be teaching these solutions and answering your questions on this topic in my upcoming teleclass on March 27th at 3 p.m. Pacific Time (4 Mountain, 5 Central, 6 Eastern, Midnight GMT), called “Sensitives in the Spotlight: How Artists, Writers, Hermits & Introverts Can Navigate a Call to the Public Eye.

The fee for the class is $39. When you register, you’ll have an opportunity to submit your questions for the live session, so I’ll be sure to answer them for you. Register here, or find out more here.


Coming Attractions

~> March 15th, 2012. Last day to register for the next session of my Writer’s Circle session starting on March 19th. Get my Free Writing Tips series too, and receive a coupon for a savings on your first 4 week session. Sign up here.

~> March 27th, 2012. My teleclass, “Sensitives in the Spotlight: How Artists, Writers, Hermits & Introverts can Navigate a Call to the Public Eye,” will be held on March 27th at 3 p.m Pacific Time (4 Mountain, 5 Central, 6 Eastern, Midnight GMT). Find out more and register here

~> March 27th, 2012. Last day to register for my next Life Purpose Breakthrough Group on April 24th. Only 4 spots are available and these groups consistently sell out, so if you’d like to join me, reserve your spot ASAP. Register here.


What I'm Up To

~> Ongoing. Writing in the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU, which was recently named the #1 screenwriting class by InkTip. Right now we’re working on “Writing Great Endings.”

~> Daily and especially Fridays. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Still haven’t watched Super Eight! Goodness. But I’m having tons of fun reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to my son. The other day he said, “Does he look like me?” I thought that was so sweet!


  1. goodness me! I’m SO glad I read your blog posts as a priority!
    Yes, I’m a reluctant something or other in the spotlight and boy do I resonate with what you’ve written here!
    I can certainly say, without a doubt, that it wasn’t until you analyzed my hands that I truly “knew” that I HAD to be seen in a bigger way. I only seemed to know it as frustration and doubt; all kinds of stuff about feeling invisible and misunderstood used to come up regularly. …but now, I get it and have begun putting myself out there more and more, feeling more aligned with my true self than ever (I guess this is proof that I’m living the life I’ve been called to!). Despite my resistance, I now know that the urgency I feel within me has alot to do with needing to be seen (or heard, or read) more broadly.
    I’m so glad I get to be the hermit that I am at the same time!
    As you often do, you’ve given me JUST the permission I’ve been needing.
    I’m forever grateful, Jenna!

    • Lydia, you’re welcome. And you couldn’t have said it more clearly. Thank you for that. Isn’t it amazing how KNOWING you have that call to the spotlight can be so affirming? And I think even if we don’t have the gift marking or life purpose marking or know for sure that we do, even just understanding the concept that this kind of nagging frustration can indicate that we need to get out there more in some way shape or form is powerful.

  2. As an interesting corollary to this, is an artistic work without a certain size audience necessarily invalid or meaningless? If such logic applies, it would mean that if everyone hated your work, that would make it bad. Or that if everyone loved your work, that would make it great.

    We often use the size of our audience to measure the value of what we do. I think what’s more important, what I’ve had to do in my own life, is learn to value the work however I choose to put it out there, and not read quite so much into the response (or lack thereof) it receives. So while it’s important, certainly, to put ourselves out there, we have no control over the response we receive, and we do ourselves a disservice if we allow a poor or non-existence response to become a judgment of what we do, or discourage us from pursuing work that has meaning to us. The work, in the end, may only be “good enough” for an audience of one, but that makes it no less important to our development as human beings.

    • Hi John, Great comment. I agree, we need to pursue our creative work regardless of what anyone thinks. I think a likely scenario is that some people will love your work while others will not. I’m QUITE SURE that there are folks out there who will really dislike the sci fi screenplay I’m writing. But I’m not writing it for them. First, I’m writing it for me. Second, I’m writing it for people who like the genre, in the hopes that they will enjoy my story. But they may not, and I cannot let that dictate my willingness and passion for the pursuit of it.

      On the other hand, from my work in hand analysis, I have come to see the natural feedback exchange between artist and audience as much less of an ego-driven, value-defining sort of process and more of a coming together around the work to experience it. You’re right, we can’t control the response we receive, and I would not want to see us pandering entirely to audience desires — being true to our art and vision feels incredibly important to me — and yet, sometimes our audiences can give us information about how we can reach and stretch farther into the truth of what we are wanting to express. And that is really worth something.

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