During my lengthy commute, I've been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic for the second time. It's a book full of permissions to create whatever-the-fuck you want, to not apologize for it, and to not expect anything from it.
In reading [listening to] this book a second time, the spiritual/mystic undercurrent felt stronger. Perhaps I can appreciate it more since my own thoughts on creative output have changed.
I teach writing, leadership and yoga. All three of these roles have offered me more insight than I bargained for, and the overlap is telling. We are all on this planet looking for clarity, connection, and a certain amount of comfort. These needs drive writing, drive a desire to lead, drive a desire to fully realize our health and wellness goals.
Gilbert's beautiful words about writing and the creative life exhibit the human urge for clarity, to understand. But while it's true that an artist (or an artist's muse/daemons) are seeking to clarify aspects of the world through creative questioning, there remains the artist's personal desire for both comfort and connection.
Writers want to be read, and they need to read. This is the greater conversation, but it often feels one-sided. This need for connectivity drives the desire to take what could be accomplished in meditation and write that stuff down! It's nice to think about the whimsical nature of writing as a fun gift, but there's a real psychological need people have to be heard.
Comfort is also, in large part, not accounted for. Writing in any recurring and enduring way is a privilege that is made so through education, self-belief, and time. These things matter.
My belief is that we all have a drive to create. And to share that creation. And to gain some level of comfort that allows us to continue to create (it helps to get paid for writing) takes strategy and awareness. Everyone can benefit from creative output.
Creative output helps us to move past blocks and live as our best selves. So I set out to hit all the marks with one piece of writing. I invite you to join me. [Spoiler alert: You'll have to get offline.]
Exercise: Clarity, Connection and Comfort
One simple way to begin, to hit all the marks, to move forward in a way to that enables us to clarify and connect, is to write a letter to someone, to share your story or sentiment in a slowed-down, offline way.
I just started trading letters with my writing counterpart and bad-ass friend in California, and it feels like the beginning of something beautiful that slows me down enough to dance with each part of this creative drive.
If you try it, let me know how it goes!