The day starts out gray, which is perfect because I’m planning to write and there’s no siren call of the outdoors to distract me.
I decide to work in the den, and settle the dogs first—which turns out to be a challenge because the littlest one, Murphy, wants to claim the spot on my lap where my MacBook is. We come to an understanding and he curls up beside me while Maya is already happy on the cushion next to him.
I open a new document and consider the prompt I gave our writing group on Saturday. Place. Ideas have danced in my head for days, now I finally have an opportunity to release them as words flow from my mind through my fingers and I tap out an SFD (shitty first draft).
I spend hours revising: cutting and pasting; adding and deleting: choosing precisely the right word, then changing my mind and using a different one. Doing what I love. I won’t finish the piece until just before the group meets again in a few weeks, but I’ll have such fun between now and then wrangling words and ideas. I might even learn something about myself in the process. I’m sure I will.
It’s been a long time since I danced with words like this, and I’ve missed it. I feel like my true self as I see something take shape on the page where there was nothing before. There are many reasons why I write but this is the truest one: it’s who I am.
Sometimes it takes us a long time to own the characteristics that make up the wonderfully complex and fascinating people we are at our core. We feel pressure to conform and, while it may be true that a measure of conformity is necessary to fit in in civilized society lest there be chaos, there’s still that true self looking for a creative outlet.
I’ve become convinced that creativity is far more important than I realized. Whether it’s writing, painting, singing, sewing, gardening, playing a musical instrument, or something else, whatever the outlet, we need one to express the deep things that otherwise remain hidden and, sometimes, eat away at us. Through our creative expression we acknowledge our belovedness by our willingness to share a piece of ourselves. We worship the Creator by using what we’re given to create and, in effect, to worship.
As I return to the practice of wrangling words I’m reminded of how important it is whether anyone reads what I write or not. The words scribbled in my Moleskine are as important as any scratched out for someone else to read.
And so I write. What’s your creative practice?