Sunday, October 2, 2016

Create 31 Days: Introduction

A Lil' Background

I am a collector of creative advice. I hoard it like Smaug atop his pile of riches. I have a whole shelf dedicated to the sages of creativity, espousing wisdom on habits, writing style and inspiration. If I see a tome that gives me a new perspective or better step-by-step advice to achieving my creative goals, I snatch it up and bring it home, all with the hopeful intention of filling myself with that author's knowledge. Too often, however, it sits upon that shelf, gaining only dust and the occasional, cursory glance, my inspiration and creative habits no more enlightened than an unopened box of light bulbs.

Enter Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

This book found me in a season of depression when all I wanted was change but nothing was changing. It was one of the few inspirational creative self-help books that I've actually read and I don't even own it. Apparently a library deadline with holds on a title is enough to spur me to complete my reading.

At one point, Gilbert personifies Inspiration as something that comes and visits you, but will move on to someone else if you don't hear its call. I got scared. For years I sat still, simmering an idea for a novel over a hesitant flame of hope that one day it would come to a boil. I didn't want to lose the idea so I started to care for it, letting it stretch its legs bit by bit. But then I hit another wall.

Come summer, my momentum had waned again, until I discovered Magic Lessons, a podcast led by Elizabeth Gilbert. She interviews creatives facing obstacles to their dreams, counsels them by identifying the hurdle, and gives them an assignment to exercise their new found truth.

Being both entertaining and full of truth, I listened to every episode. Then it hit me: I was hoarding, AGAIN, becoming fat on advice with no output. I needed to DO something, but what? I wasn't going to get a creative therapy session with Gilbert herself and, despite my desire to do so, I couldn't lead a group of creatives to find their own truth if I wasn't practicing my own.

Write 31 Days

With nudge from God, I remembered the Write 31 Days challenge was drawing near. What better catalyst for my creative life than a community of like-minded individuals bought in to the same goal? Besides, countless resources proclaim 30 days of practicing a habit will make it more likely to be continued. I could use this opportunity to do my own personal creative therapy session while partnering with Inspiration to stretch my creative muscles.

So for the month of October, I will be embracing my four constant companions-- Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust-- with Joy's wisdom, identifying their fears and exercising truth, so we may all walk forward into the freedom to create.

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