On my website, I have tips for writing. One of the tips is to decide when writing, or creating in any medium, is convenient for us. What I stressed, was to make an appointment with the artist inside. For many of us, if we don’t write things down, then we forget. If we don’t schedule an appointment with our notebook or paints or piano or dance shoes or camera, then days and weeks and months may pass with nary a care to follow the ever-so-quite whisper that we are drawn to heed. ‘Create’, it tells us. ‘Take the time, make the time’. In my experience, time is the biggest hurdle. When to write? What to ignore or put off until another day just so I can squeeze in an hour or steal an afternoon in an attempt to give space to the words crowding together in my mind. People believe me to be prolific, that I have created so many stories and poems. In reality, if I allowed myself the time my muse whines for, I’d have three or four times as many thoughts and perceptions on paper than I do. An hour here, ten minutes there, hardly constitutes a consistent practice. I’ve always stressed to teachers who attend one of my training, that anything worth teaching, is worth teaching well. The same goes for our art. If it is what gives us joy, what nudges us, what blows quietly, sometimes, and at others, roars through us like a freight train, then why not make it a priority? Why not schedule the time? Yes, life happens, and events arise to interrupt our most honest intentions, but then the invitation is simply to return to the practice of creating.
From the book, The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and the Mind, by Cat Bennett, she writes these three quotes that I share with you in this post:
1) But it does matter that we show up with some consistency. . . There are many, many things that can interfere. We won’t beat ourselves up; we’ll just do our best. In time, we’ll bring consciousness to our decision to honor what calls us.
2) We can just begin where we are . . . we can start with what we have.
I’ve written a post in my yoga blog about teaching from where we are, physically, mentally, in our growth as yoga instructors. Writing, in fact all creativity, is the same. It matters not if we have the best materials, a studio, if we are able to support ourselves with our art, or if we begin as hobbyists. The most important point is to just begin. We start from what we feel, what we see, what we interpret that is happening around us. Pencil and legal pad, copy paper and pen, an old 35 mm picked up cheap at a yard sale, used canvases and half-dried tubes of ink. Nothing matters more than just getting started. As technique is acquired, as the drive to do art becomes more of a calling rather than something we pick up and set down at random, then we can invest in better and more materials. But those don’t make the artist. The manifestation comes from the heart. Nor do classes or workshops or seminars make the artist. Knowledge lends a particular edge, but when one listens to the greatest teacher, and grows by consistently applying themselves, then skill arrives. Practice must begin some place. Allow it to begin now.
3) We can’t rush these things. Still, it’s good to know that in drawing we don’t just learn skills; we come to know ourselves as creative beings . . . By experimenting, you’ll start to get that feeling of freedom we need so much in making art and in living a full, rich life.
Here is where Cat Bennett sums up the reason why we create: to know ourselves, to live a full life. I have stated again and again that I write to understand. It is a bonus if someone reads my words and agrees, that what I’ve written speaks to something inside of them. I create to understand myself, human beings, the earth, and our relationship to all we see and don’t see. I create because I’m pushed and prodded to do so until the voice of my muse becomes so loud and distracting that it drowns out everything else. I create because it brings me joy, and on occasion frustration. It makes me feel all that I can and even some of what I ignore. Because I create, I understand myself and my place in this world and this time. In reviewing my life before I threw open the door to the words ever-present in my mind, those times that I wrote a little something, a letter to a friend or a note in a card to someone who was going through a tough time, or an idea I had to create something as a gift for someone, I find that those were bright spots, incidents in my life that were surrounded by a love and happiness I couldn’t put a name to at the time. Having consciously experienced this state, I could no more revert back to what I was than I could exist without my next breath or the next beat of my heart. And I wouldn’t want to.
If you allow yourself to throw open the door to your creativity, or even just look through the peephole, what might you find? Are you brave enough to try? Are you willing to trust your muse, to follow your instinct in creating what feels right, what seems to be crying for expression in this world? If you’re not ready, that’s okay. Go back and read number 1, and then number 2, and finally, settle yourself in number 3. Reread them as many times as it takes to convince yourself to just begin. That’s all. Just start. Taste what’s it’s like to be in flow, to be wrapped in something greater than you, something that comes from you, that can only be offered by you. My website is myself, exposed. Visit www.myjoyenterprises.com to see how I’ve started from where I was, what my consistent practice looks like, and how my art has enriched my life. Leave a comment to encourage others on how you’ve answered the call.