Committing to the Creative Process

Aug 15, 2016

Dreams Creativity Writing Creative Process
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Maybe it is knowing that these words, by the mere act of being written down for others to read, are opening themselves up to judgment and scrutiny.

Maybe it is the imposing Ms. Perfectionist within me with her unattainable expectations pointing her snarky finger at me.

Or maybe it’s the feeling of having planted seed after creative seed and never seeing any of them bear fruit.

Whatever it is, something is holding me back from writing. It’s probably ego; that usually seems to be the culprit behind most creative blocks.

There is a line in the book Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg that goes:

A writer must be willing to sit at the bottom of the pit, commit herself to stay there, and let all the wild animals approach, even call them up, then face them, write them down, and not run away.

I am a writer. That is my gift and my curse as they say. And I am an expert at running away. These two don’t go well together. In fact, one prevents me from doing the other. Even when I commit to sitting down and writing, I can remarkably run away in my mind and not be present. Can any creatives relate?

I often wonder — do we choose to become writers or does writing choose us? It’s probably a little bit of both. I think we are chosen because we have a fascination with the pit Natalie is talking about; we want to see what’s there. Though we are often terrified of what we will find, we peek in, we pull back the covers. Our curiosity is greater than our fear. Writing, then, becomes the form that for us best expresses what we find or learn in the pit.

If we want to create anything, we must choose to “sit at the bottom of the pit” over and over again and commit to staying there, no matter how grueling or uncomfortable or ceaseless the attempt.

For now, I am learning how to sit, how to commit to staying there, in order to become acquainted with myself and the wild animals that call my depths home. I want to see what will come forth. Every animal will have something to teach me — be it patience, courage, perseverance, understanding, humility, or grace.

In the end, I believe we create in order to align with our highest sense of self.

We write, compose, dance, sing, paint, bake and design to chisel away at something larger than ourselves. And the beautiful thing about engaging with our creative work is that it has the potential to touch this place in another and bring it to life.

These words may have opened themselves up to judgment and scrutiny, but simultaneously are also the breeding ground for mutual understanding and inspiration. It is the latter that I must focus on if I want my writing to bear fruit and be of any value.

Let’s commit to doing our creative work. Join me for the next 30 days and together let’s learn how to sit and commit to staying there, engaging with our creativity, regardless of what is produced or made.