On Finding Your Voice

Because I decided to write a blog, I had to find out how to do it perfectly. I think, I do want people to read what I am writing so, I have to make it good. And in order to write a ‘good’ blog that people will want to read, research was required, or so I thought. Commence research. I read a lot on the topic of style and voice, content and scheduling. Here are some great sites with loads of information:

Or you could save yourself some time and know this, all you really need is a story and the urge to tell it. And I have decided this isn’t something that requires finding at all. Just speaking–hmmm, first listening, really listening, then speaking your truth, in as few words as possible.  At some point, I got tired of trying to figure out how to do it perfectly, settled for just doing it and hit the publish button. Gulp. I nearly threw up and had to walk away from the computer, but also compulsively check for comments. Such sweet torture. It takes bravery, that’s pretty much it. Oh, and also practice, bravery at first and then practice. To be good at something, one must do it over and over and over again- 10,000 hrs right? So, bravery, no, first a story, then bravery, then practice and some consistency and discipline. It’s all starting to sound hard again, when what I meant to say was, ‘Nike tagline the shit out of it.’ Just do it, simple.

And this is true not just for writing, but for anything you create. Sometimes you have to say, ‘screw it, I can’t wait for it to be perfect. It is good enough’ and send it out into the world. So, here are my imperfect ramblings. And some thoughts from Neil Gaiman, who Really is a writer, people pay him to write. So, yeah, he knows what he is talking about. I love Neil Gaiman. Now, go create something.


Suck It Up

Something really cool happened that I think relates to creativity. I was vacuuming the fruit flies. I have been vacuuming the fruit flies periodically throughout the day. They are a nuisance and must go. While planning their ultimate destruction, I accidentally cleaned my kitchen.  If you know me, you will know that this is significant. If you don’t know me, know this: Cleaning is not terribly important to me, in that I don’t like to do it. I do enjoy a clean house, though.

So, in the process of sucking up flies, those fuckers hide everywhere, I vacuumed everywhere. It turns out the vacuum is also a good tool for sucking crumbs out of toasters, cobwebs from window ledges and I’m not sure what from behind the fridge. The coffee grounds under the sink near the garbage can, sand by the rocks collected over the summer, something fluffy from the corner- all gone. Thank you fruit flies. I did rip the leaf off of one of my orchids, suck up a quarter and a pencil–Why is there a pencil under the dishwasher? And a bit of vinegar from the next to useless, do-it-yourself trap- not working- at all, I am sorry trusty vacuum for this. Though completely focused on ridding the house of these wine ruining pests, I managed to do something else, equally awesome. I cleaned the kitchen with enthusiasm and without being aware that I was working on the less than favorite task. I did it with gusto because I wasn’t cleaning, I was hunting and killing. Brilliant.

What does this have to do with creativity? You ask.  I’m not sure, remember I said, “I think relates to creativity”. But, hear me out.

Whether you have decided to create as a way to serve others or because you’re called to it or both, whether you’re writing, designing, sewing, growing, teaching, whatever your craft. If you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, a parent, a human who is here to make shit, than you have an obligation to do so and this takes some discipline and inspiration. After today’s fly exercise, I’m thinking it might not require, for me, sitting at a blank computer screen with the flashing black line, forcing words. Great work can come from playing, walking, sitting and staring, vacuuming fruit flies.

I do realize this is completely contrary to my last post, where I said, ‘I had to just DO IT’. I still think that is also true. Both are true, sometimes you have to just create because there is a deadline, or you promised or because you must and sometimes you have to do something else because forcing it doesn’t work. The cool thing is that the something else can lead to the thing you needed in the first place. Today, I felt mad inspiration come from housecleaning and pest control that no amount of willing creativity would have achieved. It just took listening. So, when has  going off path worked for you? I want to hear your stories about great work coming from play, times when you surprised yourself because you thought you were doing something entirely different from the resulting product. What have your accidental achievements been?