“When love first happens, the individuals are giving each other energy unconsciously and both people feel buoyant and elated. That’s the incredible high we call being ‘in love.’ Unfortunately, once they expect this feeling to come from another person, they cut themselves off from the energy in the universe and begin to rely even more on the energy from each other–only now there doesn’t seem to be enough and so they stop giving each other energy and fall back into their dramas in an attempt to control each other and force the other’s energy their way.” ― James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
Being an author isn’t about obtaining a certificate, reaching a certain status, or achieving a coveted literary/genre award. Some will tell you that it is. I will tell you otherwise. I will also tell you, not only why it isn’t so, but why it is of utmost importance that you don’t think of yourself or your calling in this way.
First of all, the grass is always always always greener. It’s easier than a two dollar whore to fall into the mindset of, ‘When I am published I’ll be happy … when that critic in my online group finally gives me his or her approval, I’ll be happy … when I finish THIS novel in particular, this project in particular, I’ll be happy.’ But, being a creative individual and an author doesn’t work that way. We aren’t static individuals with a linear path. Our existence is all over the map. We wander, we peruse, we journey. What we don’t do … ever … is sit still. We are forged of only the strongest kind of energy, that borne of sweat, blood, tears, body, soul and sorrow. This creative energy can, and needs to be harnessed or else it can either drive you mad, sap your somatic energy, or block your daily functional flow. Sound like yah-yah kind of nonsense to you? Give me a second and let’s see if I can’t clarify this a little more.
Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘If I don’t write, right-damn-now, I’ll explode’? I have. Loved ones have expressed similar thoughts. That’s the build-up of your creative energy. Most people will see that feeling as merely the byproduct of needing to find an outlet through which to express the tension.
I propose a slightly different view on the matter … (shocker, huh?)
What if this energy doesn’t build so much like water building pressure behind a damn, but flows like a river? Yes, writer’s block could be explained as the damn and would therefore cause the tension, right? Too easy … way too damn easy. I see it like this—most damns are not natural, they are man-made. As holistic authors, we’re not the structured type. We see our world as one fluid, cohesive plane of existence. So, why would this energy be any different? In other words, you’re not channeling energy like one would try to force water to go a certain way with a damn. We are building our creative lives around the water source and reveling in its existence every hour of every day, whether we are actively wading in it or not.
Why is this slight distinction important? Isn’t energy just energy?
No. Not at all. The difference is labor and the wasting of precious moments spent trying to steer something powerful enough to steer itself. When we first realize, or come to find, that we are authors … that we can craft worlds from the use of language … we feed off of that natural energy much like two lovers feed off each other’s energy. After awhile, we become accustomed to that energy and we rely on it alone to feed us. Eventually, if we aren’t careful, we’ll come to ‘fall out of love’ because of how little energy our simply ‘being an author’ now gives us on a daily basis and, though we don’t so much as give credence to the thought, we come to resent it somewhat. It is a ‘need’ that builds like water behind a damn, and unless handled, will tear us apart from the inside out.
That’s when the manipulation begins. We set ourselves up for failure by leveling goals at our creative selves, under the guise of aspirations, and somehow along the line we forget why we fell in love with writing in the first place. It becomes less about the story, and more about the act of writing itself. It’s not the life that the water brings, but the frequency of flow, the perceived quality of the water, the efficacy of its mineral content.
In other words, relax. The water will flow. Allow it to do so naturally, and you’ll find a rhythm that follows you throughout your days and nights, no matter how many different hats you wear, no matter how many worlds you step in and out of on a daily basis. How does one go about accomplishing this? Depends on your river. It can also be compared to prayer. The mindset differences there are either setting aside only specific times to be with the divine (whatever that may be for you, or whomever that may be), or being in constant commune with the spiritual no matter what you are physically doing.
You’re writing, even when you’re doing the dishes. You’re writing, even when you can’t write a damn thing and are moping about the house. You’re writing at that big marketing meeting that you’ve been dreading for weeks. Don’t think so? Haven’t you ever heard a name out of the blue, and thought, ‘Perfect name for a novel.’? And that’s just one ridiculously small example. Open your mind up to the possibility of always being “one” with your inner author, and you may find that pressure lessening, and your productivity at an all-time high. Don’t let that scare you. You aren’t letting go of writing. You aren’t accepting any less energy from writing, or falling out of love with it. In fact, it’s just the opposite. You’re freeing yourself to truly love who you are as an author, and the works you create, because none of it is forced or fabricated. It becomes, at that point, truly and utterly authentic.
And isn’t that the whole point of being a holistic author? To just … be?
I might have lost a few of you on this one, and I gather there will be a handful more who flat-out disagree with me. This is merely my input on it, and how I teach others to channel their creative flow. You don’t have to take my word on. But, before you go disagreeing with me, I challenge you to put into place this new mindset for just one week. See where it takes you. If going with the natural rhythm of things messes with your productivity, then perhaps this post wasn’t meant for you.
I’m betting though that you’ll find yourself quite surprised at how relaxed you feel … how easy the words will come once you’ve opened the floodgates and invited that energy to do as it pleases.
Go on … open those gates and stop fretting so much over the specificity of it all … I dare you …