i'm learning some hard lessons these days about what it means to be a creator. i'm sharing these to help me remember & also for you dear fellow creatives who might be in a rut - or a ditch, or a deep oceanic cave - & need a push. so let's give it a go together. here is what i'm learning:
>> creating is mostly devoting yourself to that thing you desire & are dying to create. artists tend to talk a lot about their artist selves and go on & on & commiserate and while some mindful discussion can be helpful, let's cut to the chase: your time is better spent making something. which leads to my next hard lesson:
>> creating is a choice. this is obvious. somehow i am only now realizing the magnitude of this reality. i get up at 6 a.m. & i carry my coffee mug (& thermos) out to our garage where i turn on my twinkle lights and sit down and write elaborate musical orchestral magnificence. just kidding. i'm lying. most mornings in my garage-studio i stare at the piano. and then the wall. and then my notebook. and then i play something that sounds terribly unoriginal. & then fear raises its ugly head. but THEN, i slay the fear one choice at a time. if i stay with it for a while and i listen really closely and i put my pen to the paper songs begin. it is a mystery i don't comprehend, this bringing songs into the world. but a lot of it is simply choosing to be there, to be ready & poised and to do the work.
>> in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, "fear is boring". thank you, elizabeth for saying what we need to hear. it really is boring. & i think often i / we use fear as an excuse to keep ourselves more safe, in the fringes, tip toeing around the thing we're meant to do. enough of it already. we must revisit the previous lesson: let's choose to do the work. (if you are a creative go find the book Big Magic and read the chapter titled "fear is boring", & then read the rest of the book too. it will kick you in your creative shins and get your thoughts stirring.)
>> even with the fear, we face this truth: 'if your calling is to make things, then you still have to make things in order to live out your highest creative potential - and also in order to remain sane". (E. Gilbert)
>> and finally, one more quote from a book i've been chewing on steadily this month, Crossing the Unknown Sea by poet David Whyte: to set out boldly into our work is to "make a pilgrimage of our labors, to understand that the consummation of work lies not only in what we have done, but who we have become while accomplishing it. " this is tied to the keeping sane part of our creative action. we must make what we are meant to make, because we simply can't not. or we become bitter and angry and skewed and so very sad.
>> you & me: giving ourselves over to the actual creating part is the best thing we can do in these times of resurfacing, rising back up, digging and working at the thing we're meant to do.