From January 23, 2012
Such an enigma to me, is the creative process. First there's nothing, only pieces, and before you know it there's something there. As I'm sure you're aware of by now, I'm working on my third novel and what you might not be aware of is the bout of writer's block I've been experiencing of late. Frustrated, I felt like giving up and just...I don't know. Doing something else, I guess. But then last week, I was laying in bed; not going to sleep, even though I was trying, and I thought of an idea to help me break this cycle.
A little background information before I go into my story any further. If you've followed this blog for more than a minute, than you've seen me reference a certain lecture by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert at a TED.com Talk back in 2009. Not to go into everything the lecture covered, Gilbert highlights an idea that creativity is not from the individual, but divined to the individual from a "greater and unknowable source." Basically, everyone has a 'muse' that feeds them inspiration. I personally believe in this philosophy, and here's an example of why.
Laying in bed, I thought back to Gilbert's idea about divine inspiration being fed to artists from beyond and drew a detailed visualization in my mind. I visualized my muse standing above me with a golden funnel-shaped object, the spout of which placed directly above my forehead. As I continued to draw this image, I saw...well, for lack of a better phrase, a 'creative elixir' being drawn down from beyond into the funnel and ultimately into my head. Once this image was in place, for real, the magic started to happen.
In those moments, I let go of any preconceptions of what the novel was 'supposed' to be about and just made room for any and everything to filter through my consciousness. It was a very fluid process. I let my ego rest just beneath the river of creativity and the novel poured through me. In full awareness of the process taking place, I let myself bathe there for I don't know how long and when I emerged from the meditation, for that is what I was doing ultimately, I had about 85% of the novel plotted out in my head. I was in awe of myself and I was in awe of what had been fed to me.
In essence, I let go of everything I thought I needed to do in this next book and I just let the inspiration come unhindered. If inspiration were a flowing river, I simply removed the dam that was my egoic-self and let it's will be done.
Now, before my ego works its way back into this scenario and tries to identify with the experience, I can promise you that this is not at all what my creative process is usually like. Normally, I have to write pages and pages of garbage and pick out the gems. But who's to say that this process won't work again in the future, or better yet, for you, my creative friend. Even if it's not as magical as I've described above, give it a try on the level you're ready to. If you're in the process of creating your art and something tells you no about an idea, take a look and see who exactly is telling you no and weigh in your mind if that is sound advice. It may be, but then again it may not be.
Create on, my crafters!