This blog — my arena of philosophical, spiritual, musical, and creative exploration — like me, is ever-changing. Last May, I decided to wipe it clean and start fresh.
I still have mixed feelings about that, ’cause there was a lot of good shit in there! But, I was finding my voice, as it were, over the past ten years or so since I decided to start sharing my thoughts on things, beyond the music. I am still finding that voice, and always will be I’d imagine. Temet nosce.
This particular post was inspired by reading this blog, by the author Hugh Howey. I had never heard of him until this morning. His article was shared by Austin Kleon, and then shared, in part, by Nathalie at Mentorless, who sends out a weekly newsletter, which is how I came across Hugh. There is so much ridiculously great information for creatives within a few clicks, or taps.
Much of what Hugh shares can be applied to any pursuit, really. It depends on your goals. Especially in the arts. Our art, likely our passion, requires nothing less than an obsession, and a commitment, lest we dabble with the occasional delight, and render our spirits dysfunctional and running on perpetual empty. I, too, have made a plethora of excuses over the years. All it does is punch holes in my heart.
How we do anything, is how we do everything.
I love walking about, usually averaging five, to fifteen kilometers per day, or one to three hours, depending on location, and weather. It’s rare to miss a day, unless there’s a sideways blizzard that would make it tough for the snowplow to see me. It’s an excellent way to experience every season, at a pace you never appreciate when driving. Though, road trips are the bees knees, too.
When I walk, I daydream, even when trying to listen to an audiobook. Conversations (and arguments), scenes, camera angles, insights, intuitions, revelations all show up, when they show up. It’s great to have tools/apps so I can jot down fragments, until I have pen and paper.
We can be inundated with the stress of rigmarole, and information overload. It’s important to have time for silence so to process, integrate, and examine perspective. We learn much about who we are, when we listen.
On our walk, in life, is where it unfolds. Whether you’re alone, or holding the hand of a loved one, the story is ever evolving, expansive as a deep breath. Inhale, and exhale, ebb and flow. Live the moment and let it go.
3) Practice. Everyone wants to write a novel, and they want to do it without stretching. You don’t lace up and run a marathon without first learning to run a mile, two miles, five miles. The day you implement your plan is the day you start reading and the day you start writing. Start a blog and post to it every day. It might be a single line from a story that doesn’t yet exist. Or a scene—maybe a first kiss or a bar fight. Maybe you write a different first kiss scene every day for a month. This is like practicing your layups. So when you have to nail one in a game, you don’t freak out and go flying into the stands. The importance of a blog is that your posts remain up and visible forever. Facebook will hide and destroy your content. Cross-post to Twitter and Facebook if you like, but the blog is your hub. This is your street corner. This is where you strum your instrument and improve.
With our art, it deserves our focus, and discipline. This is different for everyone, but, the work of it serves only to hone skills, and stabilize those neural pathways so to liberate our energy when ideas and inspirations come charging in. We battle the mechanism far less when the training and repeated failures are behind us. We can dance with effortless fluidity when we’ve learned to trust our feet.
10) Find your voice. I put this last because it’s the hardest, will take the longest, but may be the most important thing you ever do as a writer. What the hell is your voice? It’s how you write when you aren’t aware that you’re writing. Everything else you do is mimicry. Self-awareness is the enemy of voice. When you fire off an email to your mom or best friend, you are writing in your voice. When you blog, you will begin to find your voice. Your voice will change the more you read and the more you write. That’s normal. It’s still your voice.
Craft your learning. Learn your craft. The time we choose to create is important, so spend it around those who induce, inspire, challenge, and affirm the love for your journey, and have patience with the process.
But always express, and create, your art.
Love your life,