#creative day, let it happen

How to let the creative day happen? I’ve been known to let all sorts of things get in the way of my creative time. Some of it is procrastination, but often not. Family, work, community involvement–good things that need to be attended to. For a long time, I expected something different of myself. I didn’t want to be Cezanne, running off to Tahiti, abandoning my family, living only for my art, but I think I did get it into my head that I deserved some special treatment, some specific quiet and reserved time in which I could create my expected masterpieces (there is that tricky word again, expect… Oh, how my expectations have dogged me). Turns out that any special, specific creative times must not come at the expense of any of those things most vital to life. I must be willing to steal a creative moment at any time, even in the midst of a crowded house, on a workday, while waiting to go and pick up my daughter at soccer practice. Today, I put off grading student papers to get creative time into my day early. I can always grade papers later in the day. I took a Bikram yoga class this morning. I came home feeling like a rubber band. I dreamed my way into a creative afternoon:

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I worked in each of these journals.
The big notebook is Apocalypse Nation, part two. Over a thousand words down today.
The small notebook in the foreground is a daily journal. I predate each page. Knowing that I’ve already dated the book makes it more likely that I keep up the practice.
The moleskine on the left is a graphic representation of my last manuscript, The Aurora Project.
The moleskine on the right is walking around notebook. The doodle I’m working on here is called “collision” and is inspired by the recent photos of galaxies colliding.

#creative space and expectations, redux

Looking at creative spaces. When the words are difficult to come by, allowing myself to explore in other ways. Thinking about creating without expectation. Trying to enter the creative space without defining the creative space. Focusing on the creative space in the moment, not in tomorrow or the next day. How many times have I attempted to create while managing the expectations of a creative life at the same time? Countless times. Always. How and where I will publish, who will read and like my work, how I’ll spend my advance money. Where did the expectations take me? Toward not creating. While writing ApocalypseNation, I have been nurturing expectations. I’ve spent much time wondering what it meant for me to be writing a zombie novel and what I should expect by the end result. It kept me from actually writing the darn thing! It was supposed to be fun book to write, but it became drudgery.

Slowly, I’ve been reigning in the expectations. As soon as I made the attempt to simply write AN each day, only in the moment, the story opened up. I was less constrained by my plot, less rigid in my “literary” leanings. Roads that had been blocked were suddenly clear. Writing without expecting anything of the creative space made the creative space larger. It made the creative space a more desirable place to spend time.

I wish this was a lesson I could teach myself once and retain. But each creative endeavor requires that I trudge the road of creative destiny again from the beginning. Today, I’m doodling in my moleskine while waiting for students to come talk to me about writing. Later, I’ll write.

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