by Stacie Hammond
4 -5 min read
"I'm chasing the Muse..." I used to say, with a smile.
My creative philosophy used to be to simply soak up life and ooze out art. I took it as it came, it washed in and out, as it pleased. So romantic and blissful and serendipitous... As if I were dependent upon inspiration, itself, as if it lived so far outside of me like a separate being, and I had to find myself in its path in order to let the art through. I've discovered that this is a bit silly.
Thinking this way got me stuck, a bit. Stagnated. I wasn't writing. I wasn't creating, not really. Nothing tangible, anyway. I was exploring, sure. Drinking in life, meditating, soul-searching, pondering, experiencing, pushing out my edges, absorbing and scintillating with essence and new energy. Yes, yes, all of that, and no regrets. But I haven't really been - in the flow - and writing, for a good, long time. I've been, you know, saying that I'm writing... which is code for "it's all in my head."
The truth is that I wasn't sitting down to fresh, clean pages. I wasn't putting myself in front of the screen, with the cursor blinking back at me, asking me what I had to say, what I saw, who I met, what I learned, and what it all felt like. It was all stuck inside. I took a few years and chased inspiration, freely, and filled tons of notebooks and journals, and even turned it into a book, Wild Horses and Mistakes, which has been unpublished for the time being. It may be back, it may not - there are all sorts of things to consider when writing nonfiction/memoir, and I am so-far self-published. Lots to learn and mistakes were made. Make-believe is make-believe; it's a bit more free and artistic and there are less rules.
But in the space that was cleared - by removing that current work from the proverbial shelf - the Muse began to chatter again. (New work-in-progress!) The world came alive in all its hardship and struggle and simple beauty and shimmering characters and hope and perseverance and story. Art. My mind switched back over into story-building mode, into poetry and wonder and curiosity and meaning, and way out of personal perfection-seeking mode.
And the cold, hard truth is - anyone can say that they're writing. But to sit down and produce fresh copy, or new pages, or increase your page or word count everyday... is something different. To fill in that white space. I've found that I need equal parts grit and bliss, in order to keep the momentum going:
When I have both of these in balance - hard work and free play - creativity flourishes. In recent years, I had been either ALL GRIT or ALL BLISS. And I've found that art works best in the in-between, dancing between both. Discipline and freedom, struggle and rest, hard work and play.
If you're a writer (or you want to be...) and you're struggling to fill in the pages these days, here are a few tips to get past that stickiness and get things moving again...
For more on Creative Blocks and Procrastination, see my podcast:
The Jelly: creative hustle for anxious minds
"My first ever podcast! Here, I talk about topics fresh in my mind: writer's block and procrastination. Both common for creatives. This is reality: I have laundry going, a few quiet moments, a Mac, a mic, and lots of real-life insight to share. Ways to unblock creativity, with real tips, why we procrastinate, and how to move forward and produce something real and tangible. Anxious people are often the most creative, if we can get out of our heads. I'm here to help you do that because I really do care. The world needs what you've got. Let's get creative..."
Welcome back! I've missed you...thanks for hanging in there. I've been moving the furniture around in here - and in my life and my bedroom and lots of places...
Sweet Simple Life sums up all the big, life-changing, very ordinary things I've learned in my forty-something years of being here and there and back again:
My list of life's wisdoms used to be far more complex and definitely more wordy, but the older I get and the more life I experience, the simpler it all becomes - family, friends, work, play, health, art, and time in Nature - these seem to be the essentials, for me. I think if you can find a way to do what you love in life, then by all means, you should do it. Because to do so enriches your soul and makes you a better YOU and may just inspire someone else or even cause an unseen ripple of change in the world, big or small.
Our creative magic is that powerful - we'll never fully know what our ramblings and art can do.
If you can find a way to share what's inside of you with others and allow your reinvention through that journey of Self, you may just thrive in ways that you've never imagined. Even if some things don't work, others will. Even if you make mistakes, you'll learn from them. Even if its messy, you can learn as you go. Even if you disappear for a while, you can always come back. Creativity is fluid and forgiving and ever-present - like a current. It's never gone, even if we step away for a little while.
There is a sweet, simple joy that comes from being exactly who you are, and knowing that it's enough. To know and understand yourself and accept yourself, as you are, can be a doorway into life's most beautiful adventures.
I'll be stashing my words here:
Happy reading and I hope you find something of value, here.
Much Love, Stacie