I’m not a prolific writer. I tend to labour over my words. It was something that always frustrated me when I first started writing. I’ve spent countless hours staring at a blank page, becoming overwhelmed with frustration and resorting to taking aimless walks outside in an effort to clear my head or inspire a creative breakthrough. Whenever that would happen, I’d always find myself questioning whether this creative path was for me.
Surely it shouldn’t be so challenging.
Over the years, I’ve become far more familiar with my patterns. I recognise the level of resistance and hesitation that tends to emerge when I’m facing a new writing task and what it’s asking of me. Instead of becoming engulfed in panic or worry that it’s not going to happen, I’ve learnt to approach instead with a little more compassion. What’s been revealed to me in the past, is that one way or another, the work is going to get done. The words always find their way. Sometimes they simply take a little longer to emerge than others.
We all have our own approach to our creative work. There is no fixed way to do one thing. What works for me, might not work for you. What I’ve learnt is the importance of being flexible and recognising that inspiration and replenishing your creative bank can come from many sources. The more we feed our creativity, the more enriched the output of our work.
As much as I love to write, I also draw inspiration and find incredible solace in practicing my photography. I love going to the National Gallery and being immersed in the works of great artists. I’m intrigued at the overlapping relationship artists have with other creative mediums or what inspired them. We impacts the outcome of our work is often drawn from external sources that serve to refuel and inspire our own creative journey.
What helps me elevate my own writing practice and not succumb to overwhelm is reflecting on the approach of writers I greatly admire. Understanding the process they have navigated through in order to develop their craft. Where they have taken themselves personally, emotionally and what they have surrendered of themselves in order to come closer to uncovering the truth of their craft.
Ernest Hemingway reflects on the paintings of Cézanne in A Moveable Feast saying: I was learning something from the paintings that made writing true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them…T.S Eliiot explains the importance of discipline in approaching your craft stating: When forced to work within a strict time frame, the imagination is taxed to its utmost – and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom, the work is likely to sprawl. And Natalie Goldberg explains the importance of moving closer to the places that scare us: It’s important for people to spend time digging into their past in their writing practice because there should be no place that you’re avoiding…
How much we invest in our practice will determine how far we can broaden our creative range. The more we exercise this muscle, the richer the output of our work. Our results will always reflect the degree of effort we are willing to put in…
Happy Travels…Paula x