(*You can fill in any other creative pursuit: paint, sculpt, make music, sing, sew, you name it…)
Write when there’s so much else to do?
After all, let’s get real.
Sort papers on desk
Get new vitamins
Learn to tweet?
Make dentist appointment
..and then there’s the list about children, parents, work…
I can get tired just making my lists.
This is not conducive to a creative mood.
Writing remains a luxury, self-indulgence. It is easy to notice the lack of clean underwear, staples in the fridge, or air in our tires. These are noticeable not only to us, but to those with whom we share a home, car, and life.
But whether we’ve written today or not, who cares? (We think.) If we have deemed our writing nothing special anyway, then we’ve got an even better argument about why not to bother. Maybe we label it “just journaling.” We tell ourselves: I’m not a real writer. No one needs to hear what I have to say. The world is no better for my having added my two cents.
So we keep putting writing on list after list (if we even do that), consciously or unconsciously making it less likely we will get to it, as we push it around out of the way of those more urgent, valuable and important tasks for which we are clearly responsible. Not to write seems far less irresponsible than not taking the dog for a walk. The consequences of the latter are serious, after all, and how inhumane of us not to tend to the creature needs of one depending on us.
I am not recommending writing instead of feeding or walking your dog. I am suggesting that to tend to our creative needs as we do to our animals’ and our own creature needs is as loving, humane and as essential. Creativity is a one of our most vital creature needs. And who is depending on you as much as you? If you don’t take yourself to write, who will?
Maybe you’ve have gotten as far as morning pages— that wonderful daily practice inspired by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way—not all mornings maybe, but some. But to expect more, well, that can feel as if it borders on selfish.
And even if you don’t see your creative pursuits as luxuries and would genuinely LOVE to dive into writing—well, you still may not know how to with all the rest life is asking of you.
How then to make room? We can’t after all clear our daily plates of the housekeeping, generating livelihood, caring for others, and all the rest goes with having a body, home, family and friends.
We can, however, clear some space on those very full plates. Not just once in a blue moon and not a space the size of a pea. What if we were to give being present to writing—to giving our soul a voice—a regular place among our daily doings?
What if giving time and space to your creative expression turns out to infuse your hours and days with more joy, sweetens your tasks, even makes you healthier? What if finding your way to the inner stillness from which your true voice arises were to lead you to inner silence and to finding your true voice throughout your life?
What if you just try it? Say for a month, and see what happens?
Put writing (or whatever creative pursuit calls to you) on your heart’s list, not just on a slip of paper, an item among items.
Take the first step: arrange to meet yourself at a certain place and time.
Then show up.
Even if nothing much seems to happen, just keep showing up.
That’s the key: showing up, one sit at a time.
I am inviting you to more than a short-lived New Year’s resolution that wilts quickly as the heat of new passion expires.
I am inviting you to take this intention as seriously as your dog’s need to pee, or if you don’t have a dog, then your child’s need for self-expression, and if you don’t have a dog or a kid, then think of flowers.
How deprived would our world would be if the Creative Source of all life had stopped at one kind of flower? I mean, who needs more, really? One gorgeous, exquisite, fragrant, vibrant bloom—why bother with a marigold, a daisy, or the diminutive lily of the valley, that just hides itself in the shade.
What if you are another flower—just as you are, just as your writing is— one that adds to the beauty and meaning of our world? What if you decide to come out from under your green blade and be seen?
But even if you never come out of the rich shadows, and you keep your voice hushed where only you hear it, the world will still be better off for your having listened.
Go head, sprout the seeds of your creativity. Tend them with your loving respect. And trust the flourishing.
*Stay-tuned for more on the practicalities (i.e., how to if you haven’t already, sprout the seed; hot tips on watering and good growing conditions; and how to give yourself permission in the first place to grow beauty.
Please take a moment and tell me in the comments below:
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN CREATING TIME FOR YOUR CREATIVE EXPRESSION?
AND, IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN, WHAT STEP MIGHT YOU TAKE IN THAT DIRECTION?
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