Falling in Love with the Creative Process

writingashealing_writingA lot of people think that when it comes to creativity, inspiration is the key. Yet those moments of insight or revelation never occur without the willingness to commit to the work and continue to show up. This perseverance is just as important. You get a creative flash. You show up to the work and what wants to be born becomes more clear.

Nobel prize winning Canadian short story writer Alice Munro once said, “I threw away all my early writings and it wasn’t because I was the mother of three small children. It was because I was learning my craft and it took a long time.”

It was the same with David Guterson who wrote the award winning novel Snow Falling on Cedars. When critics acclaimed that a brilliant new writer had just come out of the Pacific Northwest as if he and his book had arrived by magic, he responded “excuse me but I’ve written in the early morning hours for 25 years before going to my job.” It took him ten years to write the novel.

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning poet, Mary Oliver wrote for twenty five years before putting her work out into the world. She refused to take an interesting job because she didn’t want to be distracted from her work. It was only a few years after she started publishing her work that she won the Pulitzer. Her perseverance clearly paid off.

One of the favorite essays I’ve ever written is 13 pages and it took five years to write. I started from a clear place of inspiration but then I had to do the work. I needed to do research. I needed to continue my writing practice. I had to put the draft away for a couple of years while I developed my skill as a writer because this essay was very complex and when I started it I didn’t have the level of ability to finish it.

This is why as a writing teacher and creativity coach I teach people to fall in love with the process. It is true for any form of creativity. You show up, you start playing around and you find yourself in the flow where time stops and you taste of the joy of being creative. This allows you to persevere. Even when things aren’t going well, you can find pleasure in showing up and being willing to play with what wants to be born out of your effort. This provides its own sense of satisfaction.

If you want to know more about the creative process and be inspired to work with it sign up for my free newsletter and I’ll send you a free Creativity eBooklet: Setting Your Creativity Free. Just click on the Mail List Subscribe tab in the column on the left and enter you email. Thanks.

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