Friday, August 21, 2009

Creating Something from Nothing or Stepping on a Cloud & Hoping I Won't Fall Through

I'm a quarter into my latest novel, MURDER ON SONGBIRD LANE. Each day when I open my computer, I feel as if I'm stepping on a cloud and hoping not to fall through. That's the kind of faith it takes to create something from nothing. That's the kind of faith it takes to be an artist.

Like Elizabeth Gilbert, the brilliant writer of one of my favorite books Eat Pray Love, said in her uber-awesome speech on creativity, you must have faith in The Muse or God or Your Inspiration or whatever you choose to call it. You need to show up every day for your part of the job and have faith that she - your muse - will, too.

Here are lyrics to a song I wrote many moons ago. (Seriously, I was 20.) It's called VOICES IN THE WIND and it's about exactly that - listening for the magical voices and capturing them while you can:

VOICES IN THE WIND
Songs from within the w
ind
Rap upon their doors

Currents whisper to lookers who will hear

Camouflaged dancers all waiting for a show
Waiting for their show

To talk and laugh and sing


Magical murmurs are asking to be caged

So they may open up and speak their minds on stage

Absent are heartbeats, still they're living for word

Living to be heard
To talk and laugh and sing


To talk and laugh and sing
A message each does bring

To have the chance to say...


THE MYSTERIOUS CREATIVE PROCESS
We artists sometimes feel afraid to do the work we were put on this earth to do. Why? Because being a creative person is both a gift and a curse. A gift because artists see the world differently and are able to communicate our communal experiences better or more clearly or more powerfully than non-artists. A curse because being an artist is often a scary unacknowledged thing that can - if we let it - haunt our very souls.

So, here's to you, my writer friends. Here's to your courage, your commitment, your artistry, and your willingness to bare your souls in the face of what may be joyous glory or dark lonely despair. Why do we do it? Because we are artists and it is our joy, our challenge, and our calling to create.

SHOW UP FOR WORK!
So, for today, I'm showing up for my part of the job. I'm committed, as always, to creating something from nothing - and to stepping out onto that cloud feeling fully supported and free.

51 comments:

Yellow Trash Diaries said...

I needed this today. All of my life I have felt like a writer. Now it's time to BE a writer. And that is the scariest thing I've ever undertaken. Because to fail at what matters the most, to expose your deepest self to rejection is terrifying. So much easier just to keep it safely tucked away.

DebraLSchubert said...

YTD, Like they say, this ain't no dress rehearsal. Go for it! If you're doing what you're meant to do, you're succeeding. You don't need outside opinions to "prove" your success.

The Peach Tart said...

I love coming to your blog to get my daily writing inspiration. In spite of the couple of recent rejection letters, I will never give up. Now back to more editing.

DebraLSchubert said...

Deborah, Rejection letters sting. Always. Feel it, for it means you're in the game, and let it go. Those agents weren't the right ones for you. Light and success are on their way...;-)

Indigo said...

Thanks for the reminder of why I do what I do. Some days it definately takes courage to face the fear of rejection. However I can't imagine myself doing anything else. (Hugs)Indigo

Lazy Writer said...

Great post! I loved your song. I'm so inspired now, I have to go do my job! I'm showing up for work today.

Beth said...

I love the "stepping out on a cloud" analogy, and the accompanying graphic. Scary...yet elating.

DebraLSchubert said...

Indigo, Good for you for plowing through in the face of possible rejection. Believing in yourself and in the importance of communication is key. Hugs back atcha!

DebraLSchubert said...

LW, Yay, you're showing up for work! Every day you do that is a day well spent.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Beth, Glad you like the analogy and picture. Scary yet elating - I love it!

Stephanie Faris said...

I LOVE that analogy. And the photo you put with it. Every day when I sit down I feel like I'm going to type that page that sends me in the wrong direction and I'll never recover. It's happened, unfortunately.

DebraLSchubert said...

Stephanie, I know, it takes such a leap of faith to start tapping the keys. Really, how do we do it???

Big Plain V said...

Awesome post, Debra -- you've just re-inspired me.

DebraLSchubert said...

Ray, Well then, my work here is done. (I mean on Earth.) ;-)

Sandra Leigh said...

Beautiful post, Debra - and I love your new header!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Nice post! And I like how you keep changing the header too. So creative =)

jdcoughlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jdcoughlin said...

Debra, I have been in exactly the same place. The amorphous creative/uncreative blob. So THANKS so much. Big TIme. You are so wonderful and so talented in so many, many ways. It is truly touching to know you are going around that same ride, and standing tall.
Luv Ya!

DebraLSchubert said...

Sandra, Thanks and thanks! You're the first person to mention it.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Sherrie, And, you're the second! I think I'll keep this one for a while. I kind of like it.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Judith, It is an honor and a pleasure to know you. I think one of the most important things we writers can do is inspire each other and let it be known we all experience similar things. Hugs to you.;-)

Kasie West said...

Wow, what a great rallying call. It was a little nicer than saying, "Shut up and write." I think I'll need to rewrite my motivational speech for fellow writers now. :)

I love your song, btw.

DebraLSchubert said...

Kasie, You're hilarious. I'm glad you like the song, it's an oldie but goodie. The music is quite haunting, very nice...

nsiyer said...

I love your post ,Debrah. I am amazed with the conviction that hold you to write a book, thus fufilling your dreams. My landmark friend - you are too powerful creating something from nothing.

Angie Ledbetter said...

And even if we do fall through those clouds we've created out of thin air (no pun), at least we won't have regrets later that we didn't try.

DebraLSchubert said...

nsiyer, I knew you'd "get it" on a deeper level. Thank you, once again, for your kind words.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Angie, How true. If you are doing what you love, then you are fulfilling your dreams. This is what I need to remind myself as I obsessively check my "in box" for agent replies...

Candice said...

This was a fabulous post.

Kudos to you for following your dreams and doing what you feel you were meant to do. So many people don't have the courage to do that. I know this firsthand.

So keep stepping upon the clouds every day, because I can't wait to read your novel when you are finished with it.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Your photo is beautiful. I felt myself being taken on an adventure, stepping out into another world where a new story takes place.

Beautiful lyrics. Would love to hear the music with it!

DebraLSchubert said...

Candice, So glad you enjoyed the post! Following your dreams is hard at times, but it's the only way to feel truly fulfilled. Love your pic, btw - absolutely beautiful!

DebraLSchubert said...

Donna, Glad you like the pic - I was so happy to find it! And, I'm glad you enjoyed the lyrics. The music is beautiful. Maybe I'll record it and post it here one of these days...

koralee said...

Well put! Your writing is lovely and I so agree with the amount of energy it takes to create something from nothing...I am always creating in my mind...I am always look at the detail and see things the no one else sees. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way but just for a day I would like to rest my creative soul..it's a very hard thing to do. Thank you so so much for all your lovely comments that you always leave on my blog...they make all this worth it!
Happy creating!

DebraLSchubert said...

Koralee, I do love your blog. Your beautiful blue makes me anything but blue! Glad you like this post. We creative types have to stick together.;-)

Mandy said...

Showing up is the half the battle sometimes. To get up, pull out pad and paper (laptop) and just dedicate the time to write.

I loved your choice of imagery in this post. Not falling through the clouds is a beautiful (and scary) thought. It seems to me like you're dancing on the clouds with a cocktail in one hand and a tamborine in the other hand.

I really enjoyed your song. You're so talented! Keep creating, dancing, writing, and stepping onto those clouds. Your pupils have much to learn from you. :-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Mandy, Wow - I've never been referred to as a teacher before. What an honor that is! I love the cloud picture, too, and I love your image of a cocktail and tambourine - magical, mystical, and musical.;-)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Beautiful post, Debra.

I was thinking about this today - about perception, perceiving the world - people who do not write or make music or are artists - how do they interpret their world? They must have a way to sort through and shuffle and "create" - or, is there world more concrete?

As for J/J - I wish I had liked it more - I'm not sure why it didn't appeal to me as much as I wanted it to . . . mostly the Julie parts. But I still enjoyed it. Although, when it comes to publishing, I think Julia Child's experience is more common than Julie's experience! Far more.

I couldn't watch the lobster part - I hid my face and plugged my ears....

my chef friend next to me leaned over and said, "they scream you know - the lobsters scream...."

eeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!

DebraLSchubert said...

Kat, How anyone can put a live animal in boiling water is beyond me. But, so is hunting or fishing as "sport." I just don't get it. I think animals are so precious (even the creepy ones with big, ugly claws!), that I can't imagine intentionally hurting or killing them.

Glad you liked this post. I'm continually fascinated by the artist's life and disposition. What a gift it is...

And movies are like books or any art form - everyone has their own taste. And, thank goodness for that! It is, as they say, what makes the world go 'round.;-)

Little Ms Blogger said...

I loved this post and give you so much credit for sticking to it and not giving up - not listening to the negative voices and just doing it.

DebraLSchubert said...

LMB, Believe me, it's not always easy. Keeping positive is an ongoing exercise, but one definitely worth pursuing.

Glad you love the post. ;-)

Debbie said...

And I would just like to thank all of you wonderful writers for taking those steps! My life would be so boring without your work.

kelliforniadreaming said...

I too was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's book and speech, and also wrote about her on my blog. You are inspirational too!

DebraLSchubert said...

Debbie, Your welcome. We're glad you appreciate our suffering. *wink*

DebraLSchubert said...

Kelli, Glad you found me. Love the song by Sally on your blog! If you want, you can check out my music here:
http://www.myspace.com/karmachain

Thanks for saying I'm inspirational. I have my moments. Love, love, love Elizabeth Gilbert - it's nice to share her wonderfulness.;-)

Karen Walker said...

Debbie, the photo drew me in. The lyrics mesmerized me. The message of the post whispered like Spirit in my ear. Thank you. This is permission to be different from others--to be who we are. I'd love to hear the music that accompanies these words. You were 20???? Yikes. Such talent so young.
Karen

DebraLSchubert said...

Karen, Thank you so much for your kind and beautiful words. They truly made my day....;-)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

You inspire me. Time for me to get it together, as they say, and get my butt in the chair.

Really like your new banner. Perfect.

DebraLSchubert said...

MJ, You have no idea how much I needed a little positive reinforcement right now. Thanks SO much... *sigh*

Steph Damore said...

Hi Debra,

I just wanted to stop in and say hi. I've seen your comments lately on some of the blogs I follow and thought I'd check yours out. As a fellow cozy mystery writer, I can sympathize with what your write so much.

You're right, being a creative person is both a gift and a curse. Some days I which I could just be a nurse, or an accountant, but at the end of the day that's not what makes me happy. Writing makes me feel alive, you know? It's so exciting. Don't worry about falling through the clouds - you happiness and hope will keep you afloat.

DebraLSchubert said...

Steph, I love what you said, and I'm so glad you "found" me. I'll pop over your way, too. A fellow-cozy writer - yay! I'd love to hear more about what you write. Feel free to e-mail me anytime. Namaste - Debbie

Suzanne said...

CBS sunday morning is my favorite show too. No joke. I get all upset if Charles isn't there or even if he doesn't wear a bow tie.

DebraLSchubert said...

Suzanne, You and I have got to get together. When will you be in Philly? ;-)

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