This architect in this TED talk, and the others who helped him with this project, gave years of their lives to create something that thousands of people will enjoy. Why did the architect do this? He one time saw a regular man doing a regular job touch a building with reverent appreciation. Creatives have their hearts open to the mundane, the average, the regular stuff. We just see it in a different way. However, I think any human can choose to see it, but it requires walking around with hearts wide open.
I remember once being out to lunch with the people I used to work with at my technology job. We were in a Chinese food restaurant. Across the room, I saw a small child–a girl about three or four–dressed in a bright red coat. She was standing close to her parents’ table, but extending her reach from them as much as they would let her. She danced, sang, spoke. She asked them questions. Got answers and resisted. She was not impolite, but rather just being completely and utterly what she was meant to be.
My lunch companions caught my distraction and asked what I was doing. I told them I was “making up a story in my head” about the little girl, her parents, what she would grow up to be. They went dead silent on me, no one quite knowing what to say in reply. That was over twenty years ago. Now I make up stories and I write them down. I put them out into the world. That place in my head and heart where stories are born is my sacred space.
Like most authors I know, I spend a great deal of time on social media connecting with my readers. Sometimes I give this effort more time than I do my writing. I don’t mean to do this. It just seems to happen. I could really relate to what Tristan Harris describes in the video. Checking a single Facebook post can turn into hours of time because while I’m there I figure I might as well catch up on all of it…
I have 1 Facebook Profile (family, readers, friends) and 2 Facebook Pages (one per genre of writing). I’m a member of several groups to which I contribute. I had two Facebook groups which I closed because I just couldn’t find time to keep them up.
I have 3 twitter accounts and am active on all of them. I pin to Pinterest boards, share my blog posts on Tumblr, and try my best to put fun pics up on Instagram about my “crazy after 50” career of writing and publishing. I share on Google+ and LinkedIn. I have 4 email accounts and get over 200 pieces of mail a day. I collect and maintain two email lists of subscribers.
Why do I do all this? I don’t want to miss anything. Not even when I know I should be focused solely on writing. So I totally get what this speaker is saying. I’m all for better technology.
My writing life is full of ups and downs. Some days I sit at the computer and stare at the next chapter heading and wonder where I’m going to find the words. These seem to be compounded by life events that interrupt my obsessive writing habits. Grandchild number 6 made his grand appearance last week. So did Spring. So did my seasonal allergies, which put me in bed and gave me some unexpected reading time.
I am a huge Elizabeth Gilbert fan. She wrote Eat. Pray. Love., but also many other books. I found her through the one that brought her into the spotlight, but I stayed a fan because I find the woman as inspiring as her work. Gilbert is a kindred writer soul in terms of honoring the creative process that keeps her writing.
I think my muse deliberately sends Gilbert’s books into my line of sight when he—yes my muse is a he—gets fed up with my bouts of writing lethargy. Before that, he’ll torture me with long hours of nothing but my shoulders bent over my keyboard with my fingers still until the screen goes black. I have to wait until he not ices that my back is hurting and my butt has gone numb, and then he will sometimes finally send the story inspiration back to me. Or at least this is how it feels. He is more my dungeon master than my muse at times.
Most writers read a lot and I am a voracious reader. When I am not actively writing, my typical consumption is around 3 books a week with one usually being non-fiction of some sort. I pre-order books I want and when they arrive on my ereader, it’s like Christmas. I intend to just read a chapter to see what a book is like, but instead I read half the book before I can make myself stop.
Here is a TED talk Gilbert did about creativity and how hard it is to keep writing if you believe your best work is perhaps behind you. Nearly every book makes me feel like this, so I listened to it again today. I reminded myself, that like Gilbert, I am a mule. I know what my work is and I show up. But if you see my muse, will you put in a good word for me? There are couple of books that really need to get finished. Thanks.
Bruce and I attended opening night of the TED 2016 DREAM conference in Vancouver, Canada via a local theater. TED talks are informative, thought provoking, and can be inspiring. Chosen speakers bring the best of their work and ideas forward to share with their listeners. The following twenty minutes from Shonda Rhimes is awesome and one of those I will play over and over.
Everybody–even writers who love their work like I do–burn out sometimes. We lose what Shonda Rhimes calls our “hum”. We lose our motivation. After six years and thirty-five books, I finally understand that my creativity is not an endless flowing well, especially if I empty it out faster than it refills itself naturally. Now as I am looking for the motivation to write the next book, I realized I am waiting for the hum. Rhimes’s suggestion to play more is the best one I’ve heard in a long time.