Help for releasing the tourniquet on creative flow
You know, writing is just something that brings me a lot of joy. I recommend it to anyone who thinks it might be a good idea for them. It’s really a path of self-discovery. You write and you dig to discover who you really are because in order to keep writing you have to get more and more and more honester with yourself.
Yes, I just said honester. I don’t think that is actually a word but for some reason the spell check didn’t mention anything, so I’m going to roll with it. I’m going to roll with it because part of what makes writing such a great path of self-discovery is that a lot of writing is about noticing all these little voices inside your head that are made up comments by imagined readers telling you how you sound like shit. You learn to sort through these voices in order to find your own true voice. Your own true voice can’t be a voice manufactured to please other imagined people. And really, everyone is imagined because we are all of the same thought-stuff.
You may be one of those people who like to write but is having a hard time getting the ball rolling. You may know you like to write, you may have all kinds of ideas in your head about what you want to write, or you may just have that little urge inside nudging you to write but you don’t even know what. And maybe that urge has been there for a while and you are starting to realize that the reason you haven’t acted on it is because you have an army of inner critic voices who have been literally paralyzing your creative efforts.
Nice. Welcome to the creative journey. Welcome to the work of self-liberation. Art and writing are here for you. A community of artists and writers are here for you to support the dismantling of the totalitarian regime which keeps you a slave to fear and giving a f*ck about what other people think. Realize this regime is like a tourniquet keeping the flow of life from circulating the way it is meant to.
Now, here’s the thing I’m going to do. I’m going to share 3 simple keys that will help dismantle the regime, 3 reminders that will release the tourniquet’s deadly hold:
1. Write for yourself.
Yes, that’s right. You won’t get anywhere trying to write to impress somebody. You won’t get anywhere trying to fix anybody. Help you. Focus on what is real and alive in you. Focus on accessing wisdom that helps you resolve the conflict you are experiencing.
2. Don’t edit. Keep writing.
You can’t be constantly going back and editing what you wrote two sentences before. You need to enter a flow. You need to forgive and let go of the idea that you should sound a certain way. Go back later. Write the chapter, or the article, or the section first. Get it out there. Then polish later. Edit after. It’s like a sculptor who’s sitting in front of a big piece of marble. She’s got to create a rough shape first. Then she refines that by chiseling out some slightly smaller chunks and on and on until she finally pulls out the buffer and makes everything shiny and clean. If she starts buffing and worrying about little details too early she’ll drive herself nuts. Sculpting won’t be fun and she’ll probably run away and eat a tub of ice-cream in front of a screen.
3. Let go of the belief that your writing should look anyway other than it is.
How are you going to ever write anything if you harbor the insidious tourniquetting (that is definitely a word I just made up because spell check is red-lining that shit up) beliefs that you need to sound like Ann Lamott or Tim Ferris or Joe Shmo with the fancy million subscriber blog. That’s not the point! Don’t sound good. Sound like what you sound like. It’s not about sounding good. It’s about sounding period. Realize that “good” is a made up belief, a judgement that has no meaning beyond the meaning we ascribe to it. Good and bad exist in a binary program of thinking which has been fed to us to instill order and control. This kind of language is of the tourniquetting (red-line) regime that imposes deadening limitation on all aspects of our lives.
Sound like you. Make up words. Go ahead and be incoherent. Of course as your art evolves your ability to convey ideas eloquently will improve, but that won’t happen if you’re too busy editing yourself and comparing yourself to other writers. It’s far better that you honor the urge to write, far better to be honest about what’s wanting to come out of you than to say nothing at all.