Writing is such an interesting process. Sometimes an event or experience brings me a particular insight that I want to write down. Sometimes I know right away what I want to write. Other times it has to marinate for a few days or even weeks before I’m ready to write. Often I’ll “write” in my head while I’m on a walk or running and then later put it down “on paper.” Usually I just sit down at the computer and it all comes out. I read over it once and then I publish it. There’s not a long, drawn out writing process. I don’t agonize over the right word or focus on my voice. I just write it and you read it.
In all the blogs I’ve written, only a handful haven’t made it to the website. Usually I can tell when I’m writing one that doesn’t mean enough to me to publish. I had one of these just last week. It was jumbled and confusing and I figured if I thought those things, then it wasn’t worth putting it out there for you to be all jumbled and confused too.
It can be frustrating when I write and then realize it’s not ready to be seen. However, in my case we’re talking 500-800 words that get tossed to the side. Last year Sarah Bessey shared that a book (a book!!) she had been working on was not going to be published. I can’t imagine that kind of devastation! I do understand, on a small scale, why she did it. Sometimes it’s just not ready to be seen.
I jumped back into Jan Richardson’s book In the Sanctuary of Women a couple weeks ago. The section I’m reading right now is about creativity and I can relate to much of it. Creativity is a fickle creature. She can’t be forced, nor can she be denied. Well, I suppose she can be forced, but that never turns out well. And, it’s possible to deny her, but she’ll eventually find a way to win. So I think it’s best to just follow her lead!
Jan writes about being obedient to Creativity, acknowledging that “the word obedience can — and should — be a difficult one for us” (253). She writes that the word obedience means “to listen to” and when we’re talking about Creativity, obedience seems make sense. When I have something inside me that needs to be written, I pay attention and I make space to write. There will always be excuses to fill my time. But, if I’m going to be obedient to what is coming alive in me, I set time aside to let it out. Similarly, being obedient to Creativity requires letting go of control — if it’s not there, I can’t force it. I have to trust that when those words are ready to be seen by the world, they will flow naturally and with ease.
I haven’t talked with many people about my writing process. I think that’s mostly because I’m not writing for you. Yes, I refer to “you” but I don’t generally know who’s reading, unless you comment. I know people “like” my posts on Facebook, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they read it from start to finish. I write for me, because if I don’t, I get uncomfortable, almost obsessive. I have these words, phrases and sentences rolling around in my head that need a place to land. If I don’t pull them out and onto the screen, then they keep scrolling in front of my mind until I free them.
I have several creative outlets in my life — writing, gardening, quilting, making collages, photography. They all require different levels of engagement and insistence of priority. Writing is the most persistent right now with quilting at a close second. I’ve never taken a formal writing class outside of school. I’ve never gotten instructions on how to quilt beyond YouTube. So much of what I do comes with practice over a long period of time. I suspect that if I want to follow this inkling I have to write a book someday, then maybe I’ll need to dedicate more time to learning about the process of writing. I don’t want to change too much, but I can guarantee I have more to learn.
If you consider yourself to be creative (we are ALL creative in some way, but I realize not everyone has discovered that yet), how do you manage your creative process? If you write, do you force yourself to write daily? Or, do you follow the whims of Creativity and create when the Spirit leads you? If you’re not a writer, how to do you express your Creativity? I’m curious to read your responses, so please do comment!
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou
“To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.” — Joseph Chilton Pearce
“Creativity takes courage.” — Henri Matisse