I want to talk about how you can access your abundant creativity, the source of energy within you, and write from this place of connection? Here are 9 things you can do as a writer to help you commune with your creativity even when you’re not feeling inspired.
Get into your body
Your body is the instrument, and breath is what we use to play it. Think about it, words are formed of air, sentences of breaths. Take a moment when you sit to write to feel into your body. Watch your breathing. Literally, get embodied. Notice where you’re tense. Notice how you’re feeling. Now bring attention to your toes, then your feet, your calves. Continue working your way up through your body, just noticing the places in it. In 5 minutes you can become present. Now write. See if you feel more connected.
This second tip goes with the first. However, it is a slightly different approach.
Get still and quiet and give thanks
When you sit before the page or computer screen, don’t write immediately. Just be present, and then, give thanks, literally, out loud, to the blank page, to the work you are about to undertake. Showing gratitude for what has not yet taken place is a sure way to invoke the muse, or call in the spirit of creation. No matter how well or how poorly you feel you’ve written afterwards, writing from a place of gratitude connects you to what is important: the act of creating itself.
Take your time
You may feel rushed or anxious as you begin to write. But you miss the still, quiet messages when you rush. Sometimes the anxiety we feel about writing drowns out the subtle things we are feeling, and need to say. Georgia O’Keefe wrote, “nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” Make friends with the images emerging from inside and allow the moment you are writing about and into form itself. Take time to see it, listen to it, and let it speak to you the way you would with a friend.
Honor what comes by accepting it and receiving it
We often are too judgmental about our nascent writing. Ideas, images, stories, poems come to us, miraculously, from somewhere. Where? Beyond? The ether? From our imaginations? Our muse? Wherever they come from they have never been before. And what do we say to these appearances, “this isn’t very good.” “I can’t write this.” We reject it without giving it a chance. We didn’t take the time to really see it, or to allow it to speak through us. The least we could do is write it down without judgement. Honor it with space no matter how ridiculous it seems to you at the time. Say yes, and welcome the idea. You can always return to it later with a critical eye. But honor the creative moment; it is a sacred moment. You should try to treat it as such.
“Pay attention,” Mary Oliver said, “be in awe, write about it.” She didn’t say, “Pay attention, be critical of it, and don’t write about it because you judged it.”
Live the questions
Rilke wrote, “be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms…do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
I love this quote. You don’t need to know what you are writing in order to write. Allow the questions to be unanswered. Trust that in time the answers will come. Write into and along the unknown in order to make it known.
Live with your work
This is an incredible way to commune with your creativity. Print out what you’ve written and read it. Read it several times over several days. Walk around with the music of it in your head, your heart. Learn the sound of it down into your body. You’ll begin to hear and understand what it wants. You’ll begin to notice what notes still are missing. It will grow in you through your attention.
Let go of conditions, and premeditated ideas, especially if those ideas aren’t helping you write. These ideas may, in fact, be limiting the expansion and maturation of the work. Ask what the piece, the creative moment wants. Then…
Play and make a mess
In play we take risks and engage our creativity in ways that are exploratory, novel, surprising. Where will your writing take you if you allow yourself to play, and if you stop controlling everything you write? In the moment of making, we must only honor the thing being made. Having never encountered this thing, how can we presume to know what it is or what it wants to be? Play in the creative instant, allow everything to come in wearing shoes and getting muddy handprints on the walls.
Write all around the thing
Sometimes it’s simply too difficult or painful to write about an event, especially an emotional one. So, instead of writing ‘about’ it, write what’s in the shadows; write into the holes. Write about the person, event, or situation writing everything around them, or it– the weather, the house, the shoulder of the road you walked on, the flowers in the ditch.
Writing is difficult work, and you may not always feel you’re writing well. But if you can learn to connect and work with your creative energy, this will sustain you as a writer regardless of what happens in your writing life.
I hope you are writing deeply and beautifully,