Katherine Robertson-Pilling returns to tell us how to use life to be a better writer.
You can use life to be a better writer.
I guess at one level this idea is obvious. Use everything that happens to you to inspire you, to create with. But what I mean reaches beyond this. How so?
Life is a creative process.
In much of Western culture since the industrial age, acts of creativity have been handcuffed to work. If it occurs in manufacturing, we call it innovation. If it occurs in the arts, we call it creativity. But the general idea is that if you're not recognized for it, or if you don't make your living at it, then it doesn't count.
Combine this with the ever-increasing technofication of life—from the processed stuff you put in your mouth to that device you’re reading this on—and the statement that life is a creative process sounds like a foreign language.
I think this idea of creativity is an artificial concept, and one of the worst we’ve ever had as a species. If creativity is limited to the arts and only certain people have it, then what are the rest of us to do with this wild adventure ride we call life? And how much poorer are we all because so many of us are not creating?
You’re a creative species.
When you look at ancient cultures, tribal cultures and traditional cultures all around the world, they have a different idea. They don't differentiate between people as creative and not creative. Creativity is the basis of their communities and their culture. They make their own necklaces. They grow their own food. They dance. They sing. They act. They do things. They’re alive.
Creativity is essential in all of Nature, and you’re a part of that. This is what I talk about in my new book, The Wheel of Creativity: Taking Your Place in the Adventure of Life. The creative energy of Life flows through everything. You can see it in plants as their branches reach farther and farther out, painting leaves and flowers and fruits on their fingertips, each unique to their species. It’s the same for you. Each of you is a unique creative species with something flowing to you, which wants to flow through you.
Take the power back and use it.
In The Wheel Creativity I talk about the difference between the circumstances of your life and your essence. When you get too wrapped up in the circumstances and attached to particular outcomes— things have to happen this way or else something’s wrong, you’re wrong, they’re bad—you pull yourself out of your center. If you can detach from your circumstances and stay true to your essence, to your longings, to your own creative voice—then the original work that wants to flow through you is free to do that.
Using life to be a better writer means using the raw material your life gives you every single day. So the person who disappoints you, the man who inspires you, the person you fall in love with, and even the one who rejects you becomes your work. You can use it all. When you are aware your response, you own it rather than being owned by it. Then you can write something about it or make a song about it.
You can choose to let it get you down or to make something better with it. Whether you're responding to your life by making a better choice or making a work of art, you're developing your power to create. Every response is a creative act.
The six-step process:
Notice what's happening around you.
Recognize that it's happening outside you, but there’s something happening inside you too. It’s called a response.
Pay attention to how you’re responding.
Ask yourself if this is how you want to respond or if there’s another (creative) response you’d like better.
Choose how you want to respond and then practice it. Don’t expect to do it perfectly and certainly not every time. But build the muscle a little.
Record your process and do something with it. Write it down. Dance it. Write it. Sing it. Just get it down.
Everything that comes into your life today is an opportunity to create. For many of you reading this, that means writing. When you can detach from what's happening outside you and choose your emotional response, you have the tools in your hands to live creative. It’s the difference between being trapped in the story and telling the story. Which would you rather do?
Does this make sense to you?
Have you experienced it?
Share your stories.
Share them here.
Or share them on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thewheelofcreativity.