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The Writing Process

Today I"m editing a couple of papers I've written over the last two years. You know what I discovered? They aren't bad! It's hard to shake that part of the writing process when you have a freak out because the whole thing seems to be a useless pile of rubbish. But with a little courage you can get over the panic though, finish the piece and submit it. You may even get evaluated positively for your writing. But deep down, you worry and wonder about it. The same is generally true of any creative endeavor. Is it "good"? Will it be accepted and liked?

The doubt is a reflection of deeper layers of shame we've learned. Our fears about unworthiness, our need for approval, our fear of failure all stem from shame. This is a large topic well explored currently, most notably by Brene Brown. If you haven't seen her Ted Talk on Shame and Vulnerability (she has two actually), look them up. They are worth the time. Moving beyond the shame and fear lies not in our defenses and shields and masks, but in vulnerability. This is also required for writing: being willing to put on paper what flows from the soul. It is a very vulnerable process, which is why there is a backlash of doubt and shame and "what did I just do?? I can't publish that!". It happens to me every single time. I have come to expect it as part of the process, but it doesn't get much easier to wade through the muck to the other side where there is solid ground when I know I've done my best and it's time to call it "done."

Creativity requires this process of inspiration, hard work, vulnerability, doubt, perseverence and surrender. Definitely, to withstand this process requires fortitude and courage. Creating art of any kind takes soul work. Maybe they are one and the same?

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