Last week I dove into my mixed feelings about the daily writing practice–my resentment and guilt when that process doesn’t unleash the creative dragon within.
At the root, the daily writing practice idea rests in creators being ready to receive when inspiration strikes. We are supplicants.
Writing is, in fact, work. It’s solitary. It’s excruciating. Sometimes it flows. Sometimes it feels like gravel scraping through a too-small tube.
For most of us, the process is actually a J-O-B. Yes, with enough practice, we can enter a zen-like state that I tend to call Zoning [thank you Wal-mart, for all the years of mindless zoning in HBA]. Zoning does ‘seem’ effortless to the external viewer, but it takes discipline to slip into it, and it takes discipline to re-slip into it. And interruptions truly disrupt this delicate headspace where creativity seems to live (at least for me).
What has Zoning looked like for me in the past?
- It’s never been a consistent thing. The closest thing to consistency I’ve had was in college, when I would stay up all night to get something written (usually on a deadline because procrastination has been my head-space roommate 4-eveh).
- Since becoming a mom, I’ve lived in a place of micro-bursts, even to the point of using Ginsberg’s American Sentence [https://www.thoughtco.com/allen-ginsbergs-american-sentences-2725506 ] for several collaborations and projects I’ve worked on.
- I tend to fixate on a line, an idea, an image–maybe a song-lyric, someone else’s poetry line, and these lines become the seed of my own poem. But letting those ‘seeds’ occupy space in my overcrowded head? That’s a WHOLE-OTHER problem. (I know, gee April, you could use those daily writing practices as a brain dump and clear out some of that headspace.)
Part of this process of writing about my own creative practice is a chance for me just to fall down that inquiry rabbit-hole, that questioning and curiosity are a part of the process and are sometimes a big waste of creative energy.
In our individualistic and narcissistic society, we measure success by productivity and profit.
Googling podcasts or resources on creativity tends to end in two categorical results:
- the business-end of entrepreneurial-land, where innovation and creativity lead to market-shares. Those sources seem to treat creativity like magic sprinkles that make everything taste better, sell better; the Google-model of business includes a playground and creativity play-doh for the worker-bees—ingredients added in to create a mindset that busts through limited cubicle-thinking.
- The other category of search results [see how I creatively avoided usingGoogle ?] treats creativity like a religion, with prescribed rituals and sacraments that make the work holy.
I’m fairly certain creativity exists on a spectrum–and that the amount of money someone is willing to pay is NOT a measure of the product’s actual creative impact.
Next week, I’m going to dig into how I feel about creative community because it’s an absolute necessary aspect of my creative practice, and it has absolutely zilch to do with the actual writing process.
Here’s a list of potential ear-worm podcasts. A couple I love–and have mentioned before. A couple of others that I’ve ‘tried’ but wasn’t interested in listening further. Maybe you will be.
- Culture Hustlers: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/culture-hustlers/id1242889614
- Emerging Form: http://emergingform.com/
- We Can do Hard Things: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/we-can-do-hard-things-with-glennon-doyle/id1564530722
- Magic Lessons: https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/magic-lessons/
- Never Not Creative: https://www.nevernotcreative.org/
Curious about that gorgeous picture at the top of this post? The Collaboration “She Cast her Gaze” is hanging in the Ulrich Museum on Wichita State University campus through April. For more information about how this project evolved between photographer Amanda Pfister and myself visit She Cast Her Gaze.