Stringing together beads: Creativity, expectation, and letting go

2014-01-10 15.09.11

I’m currently waiting for some art journaling painting to dry while I write this. I was cut early from work today and came home, ready to do some creating. Because yesterday, I promptly fell asleep for three hours, speaking to the stress and go-go-go of the past few weeks. There will probably be a post about that, too, sometime.

But today, I was struck by the feeling Brenda Ueland described in If You Want to Write:

I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like child stringing beads in kindergarten, – happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.

I haven’t written much in my journal recently, in part due to crazy schedule stuff, but some of it? Some of it is because of the pressure filled expectation I’ve put on it to write X amount, about Y topic, for Z amount of time. The joy of writing simply to write had gone away. And it makes me sad. Not because I’m being an unproductive writer, but because there is this activity I absolutely love (and that has saved my life on more than one occasion) that I’m no longer engaging in.

There have been so many times in my life writing felt like that “happy, absorbed” bead stringing feeling. And I realized today that art journaling has become that right now. That I have no expectation about what colors, shapes, or pieces go on the page. It’s all about experimenting and simply enjoying the process.

And I don’t have answers as to how to take expectation off of my writing. Being aware of it, if only as a contrast to my recent experience stringing together “beads” without expectation, but for the simple joy of it.

What have you placed expectations on that keeps you from doing what you love?

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3 responses to “Stringing together beads: Creativity, expectation, and letting go

  1. Aahh. . . The joy of creative exploration. Drawing is my easiest way of tapping into the creative non – pre judging mind (b/c when I sing/play piano, the pre judging mind does sometimes want to take over). . . A beautiful article, Stephanie. I love how you’re creatively embracing the new year. :-)

    • It’s feels “easier” for pre-judging mind to take over when we’re doing things we do for a living, or have been trained to do… I’ve been wonering if that’s part of why writing has felt less full-of-vitality for me, and small snippets, interspersed with more playful color/art has been my mode recently.

      • That sounds exactly like my experience. There is definitely a dance between bringing joy/creativity (and choice!) to the things that I “have” to do, and getting to choose the next little adventure that I “want” to do. :-)

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