How often have you sat down, all excited to write but before your pen hit the paper your mind flooded with visions of what the piece of work could be? Should be? Better be? What happened to your voice? Your willingness to let your voice flow? Whenever that happens to me, the fun evaporates.
I call that writing in the future. To put it another way, obsessing about something I have no control over. Obsession of any kind is a prison. I sit there trapped inside, pages ahead of myself (without ever having written a single page). With my mind tangled, my flow blocked and my ideas short circuited, I need to reground myself in the present. This is what I know: When a stream of Self is emerging from deep inside the unconscious, it is energy trying to situate itself. For the writer, it’s words. For the fine artist, it’s images or color. For the mathematician, numbers and equations.
And so on.
These values only need to be expressed right now. We’ll consider them a little later, perhaps gently slide them around, reconfigure their appearance or meaning. But right now the words and images and equations only want to be seen—by their creator. You.
Writing for me is best when the words, images, fragments and impulses to pour from the unconscious onto the page. In a way, this pen movement is flow. It’s like taking water and pouring it into a glass only it looks like ink pouring into words on the page.
Like the unconscious (or an underground stream, to keep the water analogy going), flow is –thankfully, gratefully–a constant. It’s my calling, my work, my joy as a writer to harvest those unconscious gems from the never-ending rush of energy (flow) that stirs within me–within all of us. When I open myself up to flow, I’m less self-conscious and more creative-conscious–and confident.
A not-so-good habit of mine is to step out of flow and try to take charge–aka: write a certain way. When that doesn’t work I have been known (hate to admit this) to pout, cry, and–the biggest bummer–avoid my creation for days. This avoidance is not the same as letting the creation “breathe.” Nope. It’s more like I’m mad at it for not turning out the way I wanted it to turn out. Of course I was unwilling to be myself in the process so how could my work be authentic? From there I berate myself for being talentless; for not having luck or thinking positive enough. Does this sound bizarre or do you relate? Even a little?
My answer is to surrender to flow–which I sometimes call Flo, as in a person I trust (or cling to) who’ll show me the way. The way, of course, leads back to myself, to the deepness in me, to the well of energy that is waiting to catch and cradle me–that’s longing for me to once again be a part of it as much as I’m craving to have it in my work.