Trusting the creative process, with all its starts and halts, confusions and contusions, is challenging. But it is needed to make visions come true.
We embody that trust by going with the flow; it pours from Divine Source, ensuring our creativity bear fruit. This lesson was brought home to me recently, while working on two major projects simultaneously.
This was a big undertaking. The last time I’d focused on two major (non-oral-tradition) projects simultaneously was 1998, releasing Be a Goddess! and my music album within a year of each other.
One of the new projects is a book, yet to be released. The other is the Faerie Ritual Set. My hope was to release both within six months of each other.
I’d gone back-and-forth between the two projects for a long time. When I needed a break from one of them, or one was with a friend for a critique, or whatever, I switched. I often worked on one in the background while truly focusing on the other.
Then I got a bad cold for a whole month, at a critical time—close to the book’s holiday release date. (Originally, the book was going to be released before the Faerie Ritual Set.) The month delay made a holiday release impossible. I decided an early spring release would still be ok.
So then I finished the book’s close-to-final-draft, and sent it to someone for pivotal final feedback. The project got delayed with him. Here is where I learned my lesson.
At first, his delay gave me the chance to catch up on rest and tidy my office. But continuing to wait would have created too long an empty time. Of course, emptiness can be awesome. Sometimes, the Universe halts our plans because we need to face the void or get rest or play with our pets or … (those are all part of the creative process). But this was not one of those times: My gut wisdom told me I had to move ahead.
But I couldn’t work on the Faerie Ritual Set, because it was in final stages, the immense creative elements of which I could not wrap my brain around while still mentally holding details about the impending final push on the book. A brain can only hold so much.
Argh, the book was almost done! It was my precious baby—the thought of stopping right at the finish line ripped at my heart.
I faced a choice. Should I whine and shake my fist at the sky, while stomping about in the remains of ruined plans? Should I continue to wait and waste months of my life?
Or should I trust the creative process, and go with the flow? Should I embody that trust—and flow—by finding a way to be productive, serving community instead of feeling miserably blocked, impaled by my navel-gazing about the trials of a creative personality?
It is easy to get lost in frustration, because creating is difficult in many ways. But all my hard work was no excuse for moping around waiting for the impossible! I temporarily forsook the book and finished up the Faerie Ritual Set.
It was just released. It exists, it is spectacular, and it is helping people. None of that would be true, if I had railed against the flow endlessly. The Faerie Ritual Set, too, is my baby—it wanted my attention, and it is thriving.
Yup, going with the flow embodies trust in the creative process. But we have to know what that actually look like in real life. Well, it can manifest in many (contradictory) ways. My tale illustrates three:
1) We might need to plow on, producing something useful to our community.
2) We might need to stop work for self-care, e.g., naps to get over a cold (or a vid binge when our brains stop functioning, LOL).
3) We might need to stick to a project over the longterm, which allows us to back away now and then: The book may be delayed until 2016. I’ve decided to move back to California. All the work of moving, along with my wonderfully full schedule of clients and students, are enough on my plate, for now. But the notes needed to finish the book are ready, and I will be too.
Naps. Hard work. Vid binges. A moratorium on moping. Getting work done when other work was not possible. These acts allowed me to feel incredible fulfillment through creating the Faerie Ritual Set. I will birth the book too, when its time comes.