We all have those moments where we find ourselves staring at a blank page thinking….nothing. In fact, I had one of those moments as I tried to begin writing this blog post. Unfortunately many of us experience this “blank” feeling as a big, scary, looming…thing. This moment of uncertainty and emptiness reeks of imminent failure. Rather than communing with this vast horizon, we find a hundred and one other things we need to do at that very moment. Sound familiar?
The Heart as Barometer.
Your approach to things will of course depend on the desired outcome. I am addressing those of you whose primary goal is to be able to write, to write regularly, and to write things you feel good about.
If there is one thing I feel that I have learned to do well in this lifetime, it is song-writing. I may not write pop hits. I may not be putting words in the mouths of Celine Dion and Elton John. It’s almost definite that not everyone who hears my music will like it. But the songs I write invariably come directly from the heart and resonate with some part of my Truth. For that reason alone they are good songs, and completing one feels like a success.
Why? Because I know that a) anything that expresses some truth of human experience is bound to connect with someone out there; b) I know the songs I don’t end up sharing are part of a necessary process of getting to the heart of things. This outlook saves me from feeling like I waste a huge amount of time writing things that I will never share with anyone.
I know I have written something relevant when I feel my heart vibrating in response to what my words express. This may sound cheesy, but it works like a charm. Try it out. Notice! What music, what words, ring true to you? If you use your heart as a barometer and let your mind go off it’s a corner for a while, what direction does your writing take? What I’m saying is, stop trying to write something good and try writing something true. You will feel better, I can almost guarantee it.
What’s Love got to do with it?
When you break the creative process down to its fundamentals what you find is Love. When we are able to let go of the process of self-judgment that is firmly anchored in most of our psyches we are left no choice but to embrace whatever inside us needs expression. There may be a ton of crap to get through before you create something that you feel like sharing with the outside world. But wading through the crap is pretty much the only way to get to the other side.
As I see it, creative writing of any kind is a simultaneous process of inner healing and outwards connection. Both of these things are motivated (despite whatever psychological mechanisms may clutter our view of it) by an expansive, unconditional Love.
Sound crazy? Far-fetched? A little too grand? It’s true that a lot of performance art and creative writing is focused on exposing life’s suffering or exploring the artist’s tormented inner world (Dostoevsky anyone?). However, it is my opinion that even the darkest creative expressions are driven from a deep need for healing and connection. The desire to heal and to connect with ourselves and others is, at its root, a form of basic universal love.