The Practice of Creativity

Befriending Your Creative Work

Posted on: February 7, 2012

I’m delighted to welcome writer and She Writes friend Nadine Feldman in the ‘Love Your Creative Self’ series to share her wisdom. I’ve included a prompt question based on her reflection.

TEA WITH A FRIEND


There is nothing like a trusted friend. We all want someone to share our secrets with, someone who will celebrate our triumphs and console us in our moments of failure.

My best friend is my writing practice. Each morning, before I get out of bed, I write three pages in a journal, a trick I learned from Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way. In these private pages, I describe my dreams, my fears, and my pettiness. Nothing is off limits, because the page doesn’t mind. When I tell my troubles to the page, it doesn’t try to fix or change me. It just listens. The muddied waters of my brain start to clear, and then the conversation changes. I could do this… What if…? I could solve my problem by…

Once I have bared my soul, I am free to work on my “real” writing, just as we often feel freer after sorting things out with friends. The conversation changes. We’re having tea and gossiping about imaginary people. We speculate about their motives, cry when they are sad, or laugh when they say something fun or interesting. Sometimes they surprise us and take the story in an unexpected direction.

Ever have one of those days when you’re on the outs with a friend, or you just don’t know how to say what you mean? Friends sometimes abandon us, and some days the page wants to stay blank and unresponsive. If we write enough of I don’t know what to write, though, something comes. Yes, we may get the silent treatment for a while, but it passes. We forgive, we are forgiven, and the words return.

Life intervenes. Financial or health pressures mount, someone we love dies, or a family member disappoints. Overwhelmed at time with these dramas, we may say, “How can I possibly write today?”  Yet how can we not? If we see our writing as our best friend, we will turn toward it, again and again, in good times and bad  – and it will sustain us. We gather our computer, curl up with a hot cup of tea, and begin.

Nadine Galinsky Feldman is the author of The Foreign Language of Friends (a novel) and When a Grandchild Dies: What to Do, What to Say, How to Cope. She also edited the award-winning Patchwork & Ornament: A Woman’s Journey of Life, Love, and Art by Jeanette Feldman. She loves gardening, hiking, travel, and yoga.  She can be found on her blog at http://nadinefeldman.com/

Prompt: What are the ways we can befriend our creative work, so that as Nadine says “we will turn toward it, again and again” even when our lives feel busy and out of sorts?

For some of us it might be as direct as reminding ourselves daily that our creative work matters and then acting accordingly. For others it might mean claiming a home space to paint, quilt or write. For others it might mean learning more effective ways to calm the critical voices in our head that act as saboteurs.

What’s one new way you can befriend your creative work this week?

Photo Credit: Suzanna Leigh

 

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7 Responses to "Befriending Your Creative Work"

[…] I’m beginning my virtual yoga conference at YogaHub, where I will spend the next five days. In the meantime, thanks to Michele Tracy Berger for offering me a spot as a guest blogger, talking about creativity. You can find my guest post here. […]

The idea that anyone can-not-get-up in the morning and write three pages before she gets up is mind-boggling to me–I have difficulty talking myself into my stretches. Hemingway said that he made sure he wrote at least one paragraph a day, but I don’t think he did it before coffee.
Good for you! Jean Kelchner

Hey Jean,
Thanks for stopping by. I love the morning pages exercise. I have gone through stages though that I felt I was letting all the good stuff out on the morning pages and there wasn’t any left over energy for the other kinds of writing that I wanted to do. I continue to experiment with forms. Now, I pretty much write something daily.

Thanks for this insight! Now if I could just my dachshund to not wake me up at 4:30 most mornings …..

Hey Val,
Thanks for the visit here. Wow, your dog is an early riser! The yogis say that 4am-7am are the ambrosial hours –perfect for meditation and other mystical pursuits like creating.

I’m still trying to figure out my morning ritual. But once my dog knows I’m awake she won’t stop until she gets what she wants. And that gets me out of that quiet, creative space when the world still sleeps. I guess I need to just sit down and do SOMETHING and declare that my creative ritual.

Hey Julie,
Yup! My dog is in a kennel in the morning, so I get to set the tone. Maybe it’s a two part ritual, begin writing for a set time and then feed the dog and return to writing? Thanks for stopping by.

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

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