There is a vast difference between generating a piece of writing and capturing it. Generating takes effort and manipulation, while capturing is simply opening oneself up as a channel and letting the words flow out. Many who struggle with the blank page and with writer’s block suffer from this dilemma.
Years ago, I remember someone used the metaphor of opening a vein to describe the creative writing process. It is a simple, yet graphic way to describe this tapping into the most vital fluid in our body and letting it pour out.
In accessing something deeply internal, we are also accessing the vast stores of the collective. Once you know how to tap into this keg of infinite intelligence, there is no need to struggle to come up with content. The writer’s challenge then becomes the daunting task of choosing which stream to capture. Not that it matters. It is all available for the taking and when the creative flow is filtered through our particular vessel it is then imprinted with our unique signature and therefore becomes ours. We claim it, but ultimately we didn’t create it, we got out of the way so that it could be created through us.
All creative expression, whether it be writing, music, dance, or painting is so much easier when expressed that way. We are the vessels, not the authors. It is a privilege to open ourselves to that, and when viewed that way takes all the pressure and judgment and competition out of it.
It’s all about showing up. Being there and being willing to receive what wants to come through in that moment. It is the same with life. Being present makes us available to receive so much more than we ever have to give.
Strange, this isn’t what is taught in school. Instead, when we’re taught to write or create, there is a great emphasis on generating content and performance, all geared toward outside approval and validation. This is crushing to the creative process, as it cuts us off from the wealth of ideas and material that is available to us.
Many people come to this realization through journal writing and now, through blogging, both mediums that encourage free flow writing. Blogging is where I discovered the process of capturing a flow of ideas, and now I cannot return to the old way of generating content. It just feels wrong. I have also applied this to other areas in my life: teaching, coaching, giving presentations, etc. I’ve found that when I just let the ideas flow, there is so much more freedom, and what comes through is often something I wasn’t even aware of until it came out of my mouth or onto the page.
It’s more like listening than talking and so much more fun. Unlike many writers out there who believe that only hard work and effort create worthwhile content, my personal motto is: if it isn’t fun, don’t do it. So what if I don’t receive accolades or win awards with my work, I am enjoying the journey. Right now, that’s what counts. Suffering for one’s art, just ain’t worth the cost.