When my incredibly wise, warm, and gifted writer-friend, Cathryn, approached me about participating in this Writing Process Blog Tour, I was very excited to accept the challenge! It's been a great opportunity to reflect upon, integrate lingering insecurities, and fully embrace my process of content creation.
Before we get to my post for the tour, I'd like to share a little more about Cathryn and her incredible work at This Gives Me Hope. On this increasingly polarized planet, I find myself continually gravitating towards lightness, and Cathryn's shines brightly, consistently, and constantly through every post she writes. Her words give life to her unique perspective, her blog warms my heart, and her gentle spirit gives me great hope, indeed! Cathryn also shares wonderful adventures in her memoir about the decade she, a city woman, spent in gumboots, aptly titled, The Reluctant Farmer.
Thank you again, Cathryn, for this opportunity and for your continued encouragement and support of my writing and work.
At the end of this article (my answers to the four questions for the tour) I'll be passing the tour-torch to two incredibly gifted writers, creators and artists—both are amazing expressions of life!
And now, on to the questions :)
1. What am I working on?
Like many human+beings at this time, I'm working on several projects, each in various states of (ongoing) "completion". I work on them in waves and cycles, as I'm guided and inspired.
At first, I found myself stifled and blocked by many of the old beliefs and labels I'd been clinging to—labels like, "distracted", "ADHD", "irresponsible", "unorganized", and "unfocused"... (just to name a few) ;)
I thought my process was flawed and broken.
The first of my two (primary) projects is this blog, GENDERFUL, which I see taking-on a slightly different shape in the next few weeks.. months... years... GENDERFUL continues to evolve as I do, and its next iteration will include a much more personal exploration around the intersection of physicality and spirituality. As part of that endeavor, I intend to share a series of personal videos for a vlog/YouTube channel, but that process is most definitely a work in progress :)
The second of my primary projects is the creation of an updated "professional" website. I've spent the last 17+ years working as a graphic designer and photographer—mostly in-house, for large corporations and as a freelancer, for small local companies.
My "freelance business" has dwindled to near-nothingness the last several years since the (perceivable) onset of my awakening. It seems that my business was also in a state of dormancy in preparation for its own evolution; however, its heart and mind have finally opened, and those openings brought new vision for its development.
Now, I'm integrating the skill sets I've used over the years with my current gifts of love and information. Now, I'm an expert in creative expression/expansion, and I attract those who seek my personal brand of truth. Now, my business is shifting from a focus on selling my creative services to a focus on sharing my creative expertise.
The content I'm developing for this space will be invaluable to others seeking to nourish and rehabilitate their own creative process. I aim to package and freely share the most valuable information I have to offer, but I will also monetize my personal expertise at certain levels of involvement. This is a new template for business that's in alignment with my own perspectives and beliefs regarding the exchange and sharing of value (products/services/expertise).
I'm also crafting an updated photography portfolio that will be a much more accurate and authentic representation of the images I most enjoy making—both for myself and for my creative partners!
Other projects include a(n informational) YouTube channel/podcast, re: curiosity, exploration, & the magic of childlike wonder; a series of nature photos; sacred geometry doodles, journaling, and other sketches of love and beauty; and I'm also conceptualizing two other soul+full websites—each differing from the others, in timbre and tone—and especially in the filters of language I will use to express the exact same light that I'm expressing here and there and everywhere.
Of course, the light is always the same— I'm just playing with slightly different outlets to express my-self in slightly different ways, for slightly different people, who might be searching for slightly different answers, from slightly different perspectives. ;)
Certainly all perspectives are valid, and I'm learning to express ALL the varied layers and dimensions of myself, using the varied gifts of creative expression with which I've been blessed in this particular life.
I create for something everyday, but not for everything everyday...
It IS a *process* after all.
I'm still learning to let it be that ;)
This is all part of my work.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think part of its differentiation is that there aren't many, if any, others in my "genre" (if I'm talking about GENDERFUL, specifically). I'm not even quite sure what my genre is…? Personal blog? Spirituality? Channeling? Gender? Motivational/self-help? LGBT?
Maybe (hopefully) I'm helping readers to detach from the idea of (or need for) genres, altogether!
I spent a long time trying to find *define* and to label and to categorize—myself AND this blog—but I finally decided to let go of the need for it to fit into any one box and just let it be whatever it is in each moment and in each post...
Maybe it's no genre at all?
Maybe it's all of them?
Each of my projects represent a unique facet of this unique life experience, and thus, results in different, unique expressions. Right now, GENDERFUL feels very separate from my "professional" work (and also from what I consider to be my "personal" creative work), but my professional and personal work, both, feel like they're in the process of somehow uniting and evolving and becoming something else, that will better connect/align/uniting with my work here at GENDERFUL.
My short answer to this question is... Me. My work differs because I differ. ;)
3. Why do I write what I do?
There's no one else in the world who can write what I write.
There's no one else who can give words to my story or share these visions; there's no one else with my perspective and no one else to teach the unique lessons I've learned on this unique path.
There is no one else in my genre—whatever it may be.
There is only me.
This body, mind, and soul are exceptionally, intricately, delicately, infinitely, unique tools for creation. These bodies and minds that we consider "self" are vehicles and vessels for our soul's work—whatever that may be. Even the most stunning stained glass window remains lifeless and dark without the LIGHT that shines through to bring it to life. Of course, the window is not the source of the light; the window is a simply an expression of the light.
This blog is one but one, single expression of a multi-layered, multi-dimensional, multi-faceted human life. It's one of the many windows I'm building to reflect and refract the ONE light that shines through me, us, all—beautiful, unique windows that will, perhaps, allow the light to flow through and illuminate the paths of others.
4. How does my writing process work?
Like I mentioned at the very beginning of this epic post, I used to think my [creative] process was broken until I finally decided to let it be whatever it is… whenever it is…
I'm learning to relax into the process, rather than “trying” to create or “forcing” creative action.
I used to spend a lot of time judging my process, and I always judged it (my work, my writing, my creative process, in general) as being—at least from the limited perspective of my unawakened and perpetually judgmental mind—chaotic, unorganized, and erratic.
In actuality—in REALITY—now, that I can see it for what it is, sans the labels, genres, or categories that long limited my beliefs—I know the dynamic, organic, exciting, truth of it!
My process is my gift to this particular time and space.
It’s the culmination of my unique perspective and experiences–expressed and packaged via this unique creative vehicle of body/mind/soul.
I've stopped judging how or when creation flows through me, and I'm learning to let it be what and how and when it wants to be.
I only have to walk into the darkest depths of jungle, yet untouched by man, to see evidence of the “erratic” “unorganized” “chaos” of growth—forests and fields, everywhere, reflect the expansion and creation of nature.
Creation left to its own process flows exactly how it’s intended to flow; it grows how and when and where it’s intended to grow.
There’s no effort, and there’s no stress in nature’s process of creation.
This is how I'm learning to allow my own creative expressions to move through me, naturally and easily, everything, in its own time.
I also show-up every day.
I show-up to water the seeds I've planted.
I show-up, and I shower my ideas with attention, everyday.
Every. Single. Day.
Somedays, I show-up and the Muse ushers me towards right action, and the right words are there, ready for me to gather and to shape and to share. Words will flow and flow, easily and effortlessly; perspectives align; ideas click into place; and it makes me want THIS step to be the ONLY step in the creative process. For a moment, the indescribable joy of breathing new life into something that never before existed often makes me feel, if only for a moment, that I only ever want to exhale… But I know that’s not the way life works. It’s not how creation happens in nature, and it’s definitely not how creation happens in me.
There are seasons, and there are cycles, and I'm learning to expand and contract with my own innate patterns of creative flow.
Somedays, I show-up, and I exhale a long, beautiful, flowing breath of creation… I'm inspired to write or paint or draw or make photos, and so I do—beautifully and effortlessly.
Somedays, I show-up, and I inhale deeply… that is, I read or otherwise receive inspiration from the creations/perspectives that others have shared.
Somedays, I show-up, and I find myself in that great, blissful pause between the inhale and exhale… So, I will meditate and/or pray and/or sleep and/or provide myself with other necessary self-care.
All of these days, or moments, or steps, or phases are equally, vitally important to my own process of creation.
If I were to ignore that natural pull of inhalation, and instead, try to force an exhalation—or rather, if I try to force myself to write or to produce content of any kind on a day I'm drawn to withdraw inwardly for healing, or to read, or to connect, it will usually end in frustration, rather than in an easy state of “creative flow”.
Sometimes, that “natural pull” is really just “resistance” wanting to keep me small.
Sometimes, it’s fear trying to disguise itself as the Muse.
Sometimes, I have to take a long hard look at my-self and my feelings to discern and decide the difference for myself.
This is my own journey.
This is my own perfect process.
I expect that I will very soon be experiencing the full cycle of my creative process in a single day or even in a single hour or single minute or moment… but for now, I typically experience the full cycle (in terms of my creative work) over the course of a few days.
Patience is one of my gifts, and it’s something I'm still actively learning… ::deepbreath::
In fact, attention to the quality of my (literal) breath is absolutely critical to my process.
Our breath is a powerful tool for creation.
Deep, healing, cleansing breaths keep the air and life force and thoughts and feelings and creation, itself, flowing through me.
So, I breathe deep into restless thoughts, and I breathe deep into fears, and I breathe deep into every word and step.
I breathe deep because I’m alive.
I breathe deep because I AM LIFE, itself.
My breathe reminds me of everything vital in the process…
I asked myself earlier this week, after a particularly frustrating evening, spent dancing with my own resistance, “When will I finally stop giving into the fear?”
For me, resistance shows-up every day.
Every. Single. Day.
But remember, so do I!
Resistance is fear, and it’s always right there alongside me in this process, everyday, without fail.
Even when—no, especially when—I’m unclear or uncertain of what I'm supposed to write or to create; I still have to show-up, so fear doesn't win.
This is the war Mr. Pressfield writes about in his book.
This is our collective human experience.
This is what human existence on this 3-dimensional planet, Earth, has required.
This is the duality of humanity.
Everyday—every moment—gifts me with new opportunities to decide for myself which side will win… Fear or love? Resistance or creation?
I'm no longer at the mercy of resistance because I'm aware of its existence.
Now that I've learned to recognize it, I'm learning to use fear as a tool that guides me towards growth and expansion, rather than allowing it to keep me creatively blocked and small, uninspired, and feeling creatively “broken”.
I'm learning to make that magical shift from “giving into fear” to “allowing fear”.
I'm learning to forgive myself whenever I fall from my higher perspective and judge my process or meander off my path.
I'm learning to trust my intuition and to allow the creative process to unfold and to happen, through me, as I'm guided.
This feels, to me, like a process that’s much more balanced, aligned, and integrated with both masculine and feminine creative energies.
The masculine energy pushes me to constantly move, make, build, create, and DO. The masculine energy propels me and fuels my creative drive and passion.
Without the counterbalance of feminine energy, that draws me into my process—without the “inhale”—without the connection, without the reception, without the nurturing—I quickly find myself burned-out, stressed-out, and out-of-alignment. All authentic creativity stalls, and, for me, the process becomes blocked—or worse—forced, insignificant, bland, boring, stagnant, and uninspired.
Whenever I disallow the full, masculine + feminine, cycle of the creative process, I find myself cut-off from my natural flow of creative energy.
Restoring this balance to my creative process is one my life’s greatest lessons—both to learn and to teach.
As for my practical process, here are a few rituals that I (typically) follow for my own optimal writing experience—or for any creative action, really:
- I begin each creative session with a 10-30 minute meditation and pranayama—often preceded by yoga/stretching/walking/hiking or some other physical activity
- I prefer to create on an empty stomach, but I like to be well hydrated with quality water, herbal tea, or kombucha tea
- I prefer to create in solitude
- I prefer to write by natural light, using pen and paper, but I will often type at my laptop at parks or by large windows. I also enjoy candlelight, firelight, and moonlight ☺
- I like to be comfortable in loose-fitting, natural clothing, wearing either sandals or no shoes at all
- I enjoy listening to isochronic tones or binaural beats while writing or creating—especially when I'm working on a first draft!
I hope you've found some value in my personal perspective and recount of this very human process.
More than anything, I hope you are patient and kind with yourself as you nurture and develop your own process of creation.
And now for the passing of the tour-torch!
Both of these human+beings are doing amazing work.
They each inspire me and challenge me in different ways, and I would love for you to take a look at what they're creating!
I met Emma Sumner in one of SARK's incredible writing workshops, and I have been following her work, Whispers in the Wind, ever since. Emma is a powerful creative spirit, and I'm continually inspired by the breadth and depth of her creative expressions. 'Whispers in the Wind' are words of wisdom and deep soul remembrance that guide us back to our inner knowing, our inner calm, and our inspiration in life. Join us for the journey, and let more goodness in.'
Joseph Zenner is a creative force. We connected after Teal Swan's Synchronization Workshop that he hosted in Houston awhile back. Joseph and his personal brand of creativity have challenged me to expand in unexpected ways, and he continually inspires me to move beyond my existing preconceptions about manifestation and business in this new world. Everyday Joseph is creating new opportunities to coach others towards true health, wealth, and happiness. You can learn more about Joseph and his work on his personal website.