Life of a Creative-Part 21

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Cottonwood Tree in Cottonwood, Arizona Photo by Michele Venne

                           Cottonwood Tree in
                          Cottonwood, Arizona
                       Photo by Michele Venne

How to Create Art

There are as many ways to partake in creativity as there are people who create art. I don’t think there is just one right way, and probably not too many wrong ways, to be artistic. For most, it’s easiest when art is made a priority. Then time is given to practice in order to develop a familiarity for the medium. As the importance of art grows, so does the time we devote to it. We may begin with small sketches, small paintings, haikus or other poetry, a bit of a riff on an instrument. From there, it can expand to larger canvasses, narrative poems, full compilations, and novels. With practice, trust, making friends with fear, and embracing our courage, we grow our roots deep and spread our branches wide.

Ego vs. Inner Critic

Natalie Goldberg, in her book Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, has this to say about writing a novel, “A novel is a big dream, a whale of a dream. You have to go under for a long time into the dark waters of the mind and stay there. Poetry…was easier. I could go under and pop back up. With a novel…I had to tell a story. It had to connect from one time I wrote to another time. I had to leave myself, my will and control, and let the story come through me. I had to become egoless.” Goldberg and I have something else in common besides the fact that both of us write. She’s buddhist and spent years studying with a guru, and I’m a yoga practitioner. So when she says ‘egoless’, it clarifies what the space looks like that every creative taps into when art is brought forth.

If we continue to interchange ‘ego’ and ‘inner critic’, then Goldberg’s quote ties into other posts I’ve written regarding the inner critic/ego. How do we tell the difference between the critic and the Muse? The ego speaks louder, and more negatively, than the Muse. I’ve shared before ways to placate the inner critic, to silence it, to use it, to ignore it, to trick it. When we are in the state of creating, and if we hear the inner critic commenting on what we’re doing, then we’ve come up for air. We are no longer in that dark, deep space, far below the surface of where the ego functions. When we are deep, we are ‘egoless’, as we are then with the Muse. We can’t be with both the ego and the Muse at the same time.

“I was afraid of that egoless state where nothing was happening. I thought I existed only when I created activities, universes, dreams. In the novel, the writer stops existing. She gives her life over so her characters speak through her. We are not used to that egoless state. It is scary.” This explains why so many writers begin a novel, but never finish. Having finished six novels thus far, I understand that feeling of not being in control, of being pushed or pulled by some unseen force to finish the story. When we first begin to create, we think we are in control, that we (the ego) are deciding what’s going to happen in the story, what colors of paint to use, which flavors would work best in the meal, or which notes would make the piece of music the best it can be. But all of that only happens when we dive under the ego, when we leave the inner critic behind so its whining and harsh comments can’t be heard. We willingly join with the Muse, and then the art is authentic and flows.

Interested in where my egoless state has taken me? Visit my website:www.myjoyenterprises.com

Who do you hear when you create art? How deep do you go when you’re being creative?

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