“We are naturally creative beings, invested in our existence to live, grow, express, and expand. The challenge is not to be creative—it’s to eliminate the barriers to the natural flow of our creative energies. Practically speaking, it’s about getting your act together, letting spontaneous ideas emerge, capturing them, and utilizing their value.”
“Have you envisioned wild success about anything lately?”
– David Allen, Getting Things Done (rev. ed., 2015)
Clearwater Valley, Leslie Budewitz, pastel on suedeboard
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.”
— Ira Glass, American radio host, writer, and producer
The Barn, by Leslie Budewitz, pastel on sandpaper
“It’s really important for younger writers to have a community, a kind of spiritual family. Writing is so solitary, and it takes us to deep emotional places. It should. If it’s not taking you to such places, you’re not working hard enough. Fellow writers can sustain you for the long process of creation, for the long haul.”
– Sandra Cisneros, American novelist, The Writer, Aug 2015
“It may not be everything you want, but the ultimate goal for a writer is to develop a healthy relationship with his or her own writing process. Agents come and go, publishers come and go, trends come and go, but having a profound, intimate relationship with process is the best protection there is. It’s the only thing that sustains.”
– Dennis Palumbo, novelist, screenwriter, and psychotherapist, in “The Enemy Within,” on The Writing Life, an Authors Guild blog
September — can you believe it? Me, neither. It evokes images of going back to school, gathering your notebooks and crayons, and getting out the corduroy pants. Okay, so maybe that one’s just me. But getting back to work can be daunting. I know — I’m right there with you, starting a new novel. So for this month, a few timely reminders.
“We don’t possess all the skills needed to write the novel we have inside us until just after we’ve finished it.”
– Willam Kowalski, Canadian novelist, The Writer, Feb 2012
“Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.”
— Paul Hawken
And on your creativity, too.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
— Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day” in House of Light (1990)
It is difficult to get the news from poems
but men die miserably every day
for lack of what is found there.
— William Carlos Williams
This month, a few quotes to remind you to nurture your creative spirit.
Tend to your vital heart
and all your worry will be dissolved.
“My silences [have] not protected me. Your silences will not protect you. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.”
– Audre Lorde