In investigating this thing we call creativity, and especially writing, I’ve turned to experts in the field. My own take on how we go about the process, and my own success and failures, might, in some way, contribute to someone else’s understanding. With this as my intention, Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind has captivated my attention and put shared ideas into words. “… journal writing has a fascination with the self…Journaling seems to be about thought, about rumination and self-analysis. One of the rules of writing practice is, Don’t think.”
The “don’t think” comes in a two different parts. One, in order for our writing to be genuine, we need to “not think”, but to write fast, to write with the heart. This shuts out the inner critic which questions everything that tumbles onto the paper or computer screen. Two, in order to write with any kind of consistency and proficiency, we need to write fast, which means not spending a ton of time on thinking about the writing, but just doing it. In our fast-paced society, time is everything, and the more we can spend focused on particular tasks, like writing if we’re a creative, then it leads to other benefits. A backlist, if you’re a novelist; consistent blogging, if you’re a blogger; able to make the rent, if you’re able to write and sell many articles in a short amount of time; or a more happily creative person because you’re doing what you love and what brings you joy.
“Writing is the crack through which you can crawl into a bigger world, into your wild mind.” Goldberg’s reference to our wild mind is the subconscious, our Muse, where our creative ideas come from, what we tap into or dance with or entice into play whenever we’re driven to create. Writing is a vehicle by which we can travel from our monkey mind, our conscious mind with its criticisms and judgements, to a place where ideas abound. Any creative play will get us there, like painting, cooking, sculpting, taking pictures, dancing, playing music, or singing. This creative playground, our wild mind, is limitless, exists without judgement, and holds beauty. The time, the circumstances, even the rituals help us navigate through the crack, or if yours is the Grand Canyon, to the wild.
“Writing is elemental. Once you have tasted its essential life, you cannot turn from it without some deep denial and depression. It would be like turning from water.” Those that have done anything creative, and enjoyed themselves, will agree with this statement. Once we find something that brings us joy, that allows us to play, to have fun, where time slips away and we’re “in the zone”, how can we turn from it? Though I know people do. I have. And the ensuing depression and development of bad habits have taken up residence in my mind and heart where once there was freedom and my Muse. The only way to keep that joy around is to make it a priority. That might mean we watch less TV, maybe give up the Tuesday night bowling league, or perhaps swap our daily latte habit for babysitting money so we can write once a week, uninterrupted. Though our priorities will shift throughout our lives, we can, if we choose and if it’s important enough, keep creativity in the center.
My wild mind has offered nuggets that I’ve turned into poems and novels and essays, some of which can be read on my website: www.myjoyenterprises.com
Do you journal? Does journaling or the creating of art itself navigate you into the open field of your wild mind? What type of creativity brings you joy?