And the earth trembled

I haven’t written in a week, I think. Maybe more? Not to mention the two months I haven’t written here. (And the earth trembled at the loss!)

I’ve been in a thick haze of doing. My muscles are very tired from moving. My brain is exhausted from deciding where everything goes in this new place we live.

All this doing—it takes it out of one. It commands the energy. If allowed to metastasize, all this masculine doing/achieving/goal-crushing can elbow out any space for being, creating, intuiting, inspiration.

Times full of doing—these are the times that try women’s souls.

I used to approach creativity through doing. 500 words a day! 1000 words a day! Two posts a week! Seven posts a week! Two months to finish the draft! Schedules, agendas, checklists!

And I’m not saying I didn’t write under this particular gun. I wrote. But I also groaned under the strictures. I’m not sure that what I wrote was all that good.

At other times I’ve managed to trust that creativity will come when it wants to, if I just set myself up to receive it. This often provides very exciting results. But it’s sort of like Tinkerbell: it dies if you try to force it. You can’t capture it. (Am I thinking of sand, rather than Tinkerbell? Sand is the thing you can’t grasp too tightly. Tinkerbell is the one who dies if no one claps. I’m mixing metaphors. I’m very tired.)

Someday I’d like to write something helpful for all the people who are out there wondering how to get into the discipline of creativity, because I think they’re approaching it wrong, and no wonder—if you seek help on how to start a creative practice, you’ll be flooded with advice about how Jerry Seinfeld is a slave to the string of successful days on his calendar and how so-and-so locks himself in his attic for six hours every Saturday and cranks out four drafts a year.

Reader, I don’t recommend these approaches. If this sort of thing worked, everyone would be a novelist if they wanted.

These days it’s slow going, creatively. Until today, for weeks I’d written something like a measly 67 words, and those were stolen from bedtime. In any event most of my current draft of Book Three is probably destined for the metaphorical wood chipper (word chipper?). It’s an exercise in futility. And yet here we are, moving tiny bits of magic out of inspiration, and letting that be the only point.

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One thought on “And the earth trembled

  1. I’m sure you’ve read Julia Cameron‘s book, “the artist’s way”, am I correct? I like your thoughts on creativity. “Doing” can interfere with just being and letting inspiration flow.

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