creature

Something has occurred to me about my creativity as I spend the summer in my meadow in Taos. I’ve been attempting to stuff all of it into some kind of routine, but there are times where a project is burning, and it consumes. Out goes meditation, exercise, regular meals, seeing friends. You’re in it––for me the story––in it deep, and you just want to get through it. And I’ve decided, that’s ok.

So, as I’m working right now, on a last set of revisions, I’m deep, deep inside the story, and all I want to do is work. I make myself eat. I make myself take walks when mental exhaustion sets in. I meditate, but skip it, too.  I take a day off sometimes. But I dive back in hard. Nothing else really exists for me. The time is 1661, not 2010.

However, when I’m creating the story from its first little seeds, I need routine to hold me fast. Otherwise, the task before me seems too huge. I’ll fly away like a bird and never come back. So having a routine where I get out of the house (office) and am among people feels good. I need to have lunch with friends. I need to see my grandchildren. I need to go to my exercise class. I need to meditate to keep myself from being too afraid, to stay in trust that the project will have its form. I’m in the new creativity, but it’s too undiscerned yet for me to know where I am or that it will find itself. In that case, a simple showing up and working, but then leaving before I tire myself too much, seems to do the trick. I outlast the fear and have the routine of my days to make my life feel real. The routine rocks the baby of fear to sleep. So I can press on.

So my creativity has two phases: a building phase and a constructing-like-hell phase, and each requires different rythums.

Can you add anything to that? Any insight? Any way you work? A disagreement? An affirmation, though creativity is like a thumbprint, different for each person. What an interesting creature it is and how long it takes to know it.

For writing whines, visit karleenkoen.net.

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8 responses to “creature

  1. KK…amazing post.

  2. Thank you for defining the two different aspects of writing: raw original vs revisions. Each requires it’s own kind of intensity. Many years ago–1988 to be exact–I attended a women’s institute led by feminist writer Dale Spender, who had published an 800 page book about women writers. I ruined my eyes reading it before the ceremony, but she told us her friends had to kidnap her and take her out for wine and dinner when she refused to leave home for weeks at a time. She said she wrote the book in something like 6-7 months if memory serves. Obsessed! My process? I should put it on my blog.

  3. correction: not ceremony–seminar. Sorry.

  4. Janean Thompson

    Karleen:
    Amazing post. Creativity for me is divided into chapters. None as intense as your constructing-like-hell phase – more like darts the come whizzing out of the cosmos, to strike a nerve, causing a reaction. They are mellowing with age – more and more dealing with the garden as my canvas. And that is teaching me patience and the knowledge that I can’t have things my way just because I work to make it so.
    Janean

  5. Janean,

    Write more about creativity, please….past and present. You have so much to say….Karleen

  6. Joyce Boatright

    I am a hidden under the table lisening to you wise women talk about the creative process. Im soaking up your words lik sunshine. More, please.

  7. Joyce Boatright

    I am a hidden under the table lisening to you wise women talk about the creative process. Im soaking up your words like sunshine. More, please.

  8. Joyce Boatright

    (And I can’t type worth damn!)

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