My favorite author for writers is Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life). She tells writers to give themselves “permission to be lousy” so that they might free themselves from the demands of the internal editors that block the flow of the creative process. By freeing yourself from an internal critical eye, you can then allow your most creative self to play and express without judgment.
I like to consider this part of myself as an inner child, which leads me to some very interesting techniques to encourage creativity. For example, breaking out crayons and drawing pictures of characters can help to make a character feel real to you. It may even reveal details about that character that the linear more critical mind doesn’t notice. “Hmm, she seems stiff and heavy, I wonder why? What is bothering her? What is she hiding?” The list of possibilities this can reveal is endless. If we also start thinking of our creative selves as an inner child, we can begin to see him/her as a character. We can ask this character questions like: What do you need? What would nourish you? What creative “nutrients” do you lack?
By freeing yourself from an internal critical eye, you can then allow your most creative self to play and express without judgment.
If writing is a form of transcribing feelings, thoughts, and senses on paper, it makes sense to indulge in our own senses to saturate our sensual palate. How about taking a hot bath with lavender salts, indulging our eyes to a colorful hillside in the fall, feeling the coolness of a star-filled winter night, or listening to a favorite piece of music while writing on an ancient oak desk? Perhaps we would prefer writing with a fountain pen on handmade paper.
How many senses do we really have? Are emotions a sense? What about flavors? Have you ever described a character by a favorite dessert? What is the most exotic food you have ever tasted?
When we explore the idea of nourishing our creative selves to saturation, when we indulge in creative nutrient dense experiences, then it is almost as if our creative inner child has no choice but to express itself. Our only job becomes showing up at the page and giving this part of ourselves free reign to speak. Here’s a nice affirmation to being your writing day.
“I give my creative self permission to say whatever needs to be said, and I command all editors to stand at the door until I’m creatively satisfied and have said my fill.” Of course, you can create your own affirmation to suit your own creative needs. And do enjoy a delicious meal before coming to the page. It just might help.
Karen Walasek is an MFA, Creative Writing, candidate at Goddard College with graduate work in interdisciplinary art. A home-school pioneer, who fostered three highly creative humans into adulthood incorporating natural self discovery (long before home-schooling became a household word) Karen has been sharing the secrets of gentle nurturing for most of her adult life. She holds a BA in creative writing (also from Goddard) and has facilitated creativity workshops throughout the US and Canada. HillHouse Writers Retreat nestled in the Southern hills of Giles County, Tennessee, was co-founded in 2005 with husband writer/musician, Ron Heacock. You can reach her at Karen@hillhousewriters.com