Tiny Writing Windows

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

 

I have been playing hooky from posting. Deliberately so. There has been an expansion in other areas of my creative and professional life which has accompanied the ebb of blogging. A flow of creativity towards novel writing, setting up a new office space, writing and designing inspirational cards and just generally enjoying the glorious summer, have sprung from this brief break.

 

I took a writing class offered by SARK called Write it Now with SARK (WINS) Just phenomenal. The results with my writing and my life were amazing. I highly recommend it to anyone drawn to pen and paper (or fingers to keys).  The support from the community of fellow writers was wonderful. Plus the fact that you get to ask SARK questions and receive support directly from a pure laser beam of love.

 

I am writing my novel in gathered minutes I gleaned while waiting for my son at the playground or over a morning coffee. So far I have over 3000 words written all from little slivers of time that have become tiny windows into this creative journey I am on with my characters.

 

Lotus HKU 2011

Lotus HKU 2011 (Photo credit: yuen_long)

 

The beauty of stepping back from the daily commitment of blogging has been as wonderful a process as the initial process of writing publicly daily. Ultimately both have been about side-stepping the inner critics which stall the flow of words and creative ideas. This is what I learned:

 

  • Make friends with your inner saboteur;
  • Fall in love with your own words;
  • Open up to the flow of words and let yourself be surprised;
  • Appreciation launches dreams, criticism crushes them;
  • Be unfailingly devoted to the spirit of the work;
  • Be willing to set aside your own need for approval to write that which wishes to be written;
  • Give yourself permission to fail, spectacularly;
  • Every work has an audience, honour your fans by keeping the pen moving;
  • Write from the heart and write often;
  •  Tiny pieces of time are profound moments of writing.

 

Harvest

Soft chirps and leaves rustling announce the presence of the harvest. All that was initiated has grown, bloomed and fruited. There is a sacred energy in this time. There is expansion, contraction, reflection.

Now that you have what you wanted, do you still want it? Or has the dazzling romp of the summer heat stirred new desires within you?

The blessings of this human existence is the ability to clearly focus and continually choose. Babies are born in every season and so are new creations. Harvest time is actually all the time, but the seasonal shift draws our minds to ponder only one edge of what is actually a great circle. The season turns and so do we.

Answering the creative call

When I sit to write I feel a curious sensation fill me. I have pondered how to describe this feeling for quite some time now. It is a combination of plunging into cold water and the weightless lift at the top of a roller coaster. There is a twin pull and push on my centre than is at once motionless, yet full of movement, full of power. This is all before words fill me, or even a topic. Some days I wait there, poised, waiting, full of this powerful feeling, yet with no clear direction.

This is likely why writing bursts and writing prompts and free writes are all so beneficial. These are all techniques to get the wheels moving, to cause flow in an otherwise still process. Although there is also great joy to be found sitting in this stillness, this moving/ not-moving place. Letting the impulse to write arrive, knock, and knock once more.

There is great trust in this process, that the creative process can become stronger by not writing, not creating, but by waiting. It is like a deeply drawn breath, nourishing and clarifying. The out breath is the creation set in motion, full and vibrant. Both energies are needed, yin and yang, just as listening is required to craft a conversation.

Tea time

 

Cakes for tea??

Cakes for tea?? (Photo credit: joanneteh_32(loving Laduree))

 

I was reminded today of how much I loved teatime as a kid. Full with tiny cups and saucers and air for tea. I still love it. Though now I use actual tea and hot water instead of imagination. Today though, I used the playtime teatime to bring my imagination to my writing. Huzzah!

 

I often wonder if we are at our most creative when we are four or five. We would be old enough to have some pithy experiences in life, but young enough to not be ‘schooled’ out of our inherent imaginative play. Perhaps creativity as an adult is only based on tapping into the imaginative youngster you used to be.

 

Nurturing Creativity

Elizabeth Gilbert. She rocks. I hope she always keeps writing. I hope she always lets the magic fairies that live in her walls sneeze their fairy snot all over her.

Watch. 🙂

 

Showing up

Just Show Up. Many disciplines chant this phrase. I have heard it in yoga, meditation, writing, art, even in marathon training. Persistence, it seems, is the magic ingredient in transformation. Whether the work is transforming your body, your mind, your soul, or your work, the advice is often the same.

Showing up is powerful. There is humility in showing up. Showing up tames the wildness of the ego that says to stay in bed, forget, wimp out. The part that is afraid to change wants us to stay hidden, small. Ultimately, the challenge pulls us out of our hiding spaces. We show up because we crave transformation.

A Buddhist concept that has helped me is “make one decision”. Rather than making a decision everyday whether to write or run or create or sit, make one decision. Make the decision once and move forward. Then it is never a question if you will, the answer is always yes, you already chose, you can skip straight to the activity. This “one decision” process is further reinforced by asking the question “Do you want to achieve your goal?”. If yes, then you show up. If no, then you let your self off the hook, don’t look back, and find a new hobby/work. No need to punish, just make a new choice and be happy.

Showing up takes the pressure off. You don’t have to be brilliant, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be there. I often set myself up to win. I make the showing up easy. I define showing up as doing the activity for 5 minutes. Five minutes is short enough that it seems doable, easy, not a huge investment. Five minutes is long enough that it breaks through the resistance and inertia. After 5 minutes if I really don’t want to be there, then I go on to something else with a feeling of satisfaction that I kept my promise to myself and a knowing that I will return the next day. Most of the time, 5 minutes quickly turns into 50 minutes, or sometimes 5 hours. The flexibility, that after my 5 minutes I can do something else, quiets my rebellious nature and allows my life and reactive work to flow organically through me.

Just show up.

Create

I am always astounded by the diversity of creativity all around us. I truly believe that each person has a creative spark inside. Whether it is art, music, writing, you name it, there is a wonderful diversity that is present within the human mind. Even now more than ever before, art and creativity have become accessible to everyone. We can now read tweets from writers on the other side of the world, we can watch movies from independent filmmakers, we can buy art directly from the artist. The potential is huge for a return of the cottage industry, where local and handcrafted items are the sought after luxury items, and artisans of all stripes are now carving out their own careers where none existed before. Magic!

Create something new today.

Surfing creativity

Surf foam nibbles at my feet
Begging me to wade in deeper.
The rise and ride of the ocean
Hypnotizes my sense of direction.
The steady roll of waves
Playfully turn me toward myself.
Tumbled inward
I drift
To my
Soul.

Holiday Mode

Ok, I admit it. My brain is still on holiday. I realized that I had not switched the draft stamp off on my last post. Plus, I am writing these posts later and later each night. But it all works out, since I have gotten a bunch of other creative projects finished, and launched a few more new ones over my days off. It seems, like most things, writing comes in cycles. I am learning more and more these days to follow my natural cycles with all of my creative interests. There is writing, yes, but also knitting, jewelry making, yoga, meditation, learning languages, researching healing techniques, studying crystal properties… It is a long list… Oh and also clarinet and guitar practice.

I have more passions than time.

At one point, this overflow of ideas used to make me feel woefully inadequate, either because I couldn’t find the time to start all my projects, or because I have started so many with great enthusiasm only to run out of interest before it was finished. Having a bunch of half finished projects tucked in every corner of the house can be a drag, but only if I see these projects as needing finishing in order to be satisfying.

I have to credit SARK with this new found appreciation for all my great ideas that fizzled. I just finished (harharhar) her book “Make your creative dreams real”. What a gem for encouraging you to shake off the inner critic and truly embrace all stages of a creative project.

After having recently finished a sweater that I had started two (maybe three) years ago, I had the huge realization that guilt is not required to finish a project. A good idea, conceived in a whirlwind rush of energy, will still be a good idea in a week, a month, or even years later. It is nice to finish things, but that is not always required on every project. Sometimes the practice is what is needed, or the dreaming, or the fixing of something not quite right. We can learn the process of creation only by creating.

It reminds me of the Picasso museum in Barcelona, which contains most of his early works. You can see the progression of his paintings as he was experimenting with his emerging style. He would take a single painting and paint it over and over hundreds of times, changing only minor details each time. By the end, the final painting was considerably different from the original. The process was crucial to the end result. If Picasso had seen those early attempts as failures, then he might have chucked painting altogether. Each try, each step, brings enormous learning potential and should be cherished as important evidence of progress.

So this post, that started out as an apology for a series of short posts, has turned into a longish one, full of juicy ideas. I love how this creative stuff works. 🙂

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