I’m in week 8 of The Artist’s Way. Once again, I’m struck by the messages that were surely written specifically for me.
Here’s a passage:
Instead of allowing ourselves a creative journey, we focus on the length of the trip. Focused on process, our creative life retains a sense of adventure. Focused on product, the same creative life can seem foolish or barren. Creativity lies not in the done, but in doing.
I’ve learned that when you tell someone you’re writing a book, the first question you’re asked is “What’s it about?” The second question is “When will you be finished?”
The “word count” feature in Microsoft Word is an evil enemy because it keeps your eye on the product (a finished work of at least 80,000 words).
On my intention board was a Post-It note that read “Finish novel by Dec. 31, 2009.” I’ve replaced it with “Write each day. Show up.”
How can the story unfold naturally if I give myself a word limit and a deadline? I’m not a journalist any more. I’m a conduit for a story that aches to be told, that’s still being formed, that needs time and space to expand and contract.
Granted, a map on this journey would do a lot to ease my anxiety. But what if I decided to see that anxiety as anticipation of what’s to unfold?
In five or 10 years, when I look back at my path, I’m certain it won’t be one that I could’ve predicted.
What's the “product” that stands in the way of your creative process?