I was recently asked for writing advice to help create a more pleasurable creative process. ‘You know that moment in lessons at school when the teacher asked you a question and you had absolutely no idea what the answer was?’ I said. ‘Well, there’s something about the writing process that is a little like this.’
Imagine yourself back in that class, the teacher is pointing at the board, asking you for the answer, and you stare in complete confusion, mind blank.
‘Errr,’ you say, putting on your best “I’m totally thinking about this in a constructive way” face, whilst secretly hoping that if you take long enough the teacher will get bored and move on.
You purse your lips, scratch your head, say, ‘hmmm, well…’
And then, finally, someone shouts out the answer.
Thank god, it’s over.
Except it isn’t, because the brain is logging every second: the state of not having a clue, the rumbling fear of getting it wrong, that long-drawn-out display of working hard (which is only skin deep so of absolutely no benefit whatsoever), and then the redemption that comes at the moment you thought it really couldn’t get any worse.
The mind creates a map out of all of this, which is why I have clients who start work with me, saying that their creative process is fraught and they are looking for writing advice. A sense of dread lurks. There are hours, days, months, even years of procrastination. This is their map. The brain is simply playing out that trusted sequence with the belief that eventually the answer comes.
How many of you have that sense about writing, or making art? You know there is this place of bliss, which feels like a rich deliverance from angst, boredom, longing, pain. When it comes, the relief is superhuman, almost: an experience of profound luck, divinity, blessedness.
I love working with a client on their writing process, re-drawing this map.
The belief that moments of inspiration can only come unbidden is founded early on in life – we record beliefs during our first seven years, which is why they have a hazy quality to them. At that age, there is so much we don’t understand, i.e. that the answer comes from somewhere outside of us, as the result of an excruciating wait.
How about finding the answer for yourself? Life Coaching for Writers and Creatives teaches the art of drawing your own, unique map, giving an order to the journey towards that place of deliverance. The answer is there. You can find it within yourself. And you can re-learn how to do this any way you want.