Uncovering the Purpose of Your Blogging-What Have you been Hiding?

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The other day, conversing with a friend who is finishing her dissertation, she mentioned the “unstated purpose” of her writing.

I did not know what she was talking about at first. Coming from a science background in which you literally state your intention with the hypothesis, an “unstated purpose” seemed to me to be a ridiculous driving force in any work.

Then, she explained hers- she wants to change people’s usage of certain vocabulary that is taken for granted in her field. You will not find this purpose stated anywhere directly in her written arguments, but it is, I realize, her underlying driving force.

When I thought about it, I realize even in science we had unstated purposes (namely to keep funding coming into the lab 😉 ). Even beyond that, though, we had an unstated purpose that went well beyond any specific hypothesis in any given article.

My friend was pretty clear that she felt most art and creativity has an unstated purpose.

I began to think about my blogging and I asked myself “What is my unstated purpose?”

I was surprised at the small-ness of the answer that came to me, as well as the self-centeredness.

My answer was simply this, “I want to be a better person.”

That is truly my unstated purpose of writing, no matter how self-serving that may come off as.

When I look at my topics, my postings, I see myself trying to grow and hold myself to a better standard. It helped me understand the range of topics I choose and the conglomeration that evolves.

So, I want to ask you- what is the unstated purpose to your blogging?

I have been reading several blogs lately in which writers have been questioning their focus- i.e. should they create a blog of different topics, switch from memoir to creative fiction in their postings, some simply are stuck in writer’s block-

And I wonder, could an answer be found in “What is the unstated purpose in my blogging?”

I would love to hear from you. And now I must go see that friend again and encourage her to keep writing- she has a wonderful unstated purpose for doing so and I am sure you do as well!

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The Cycle of Creativity: You Get what You Give

Let Me Give to You, What I Have

Let Me Give to You, What I Have

I think of creativity as a circle or infinity loop. Around and around the creative impulse circumnavigates.

And to keep this momentum – you need to give what you get.

I see too many “creative types” who think of creativity (or life in general) not as a circle but rather as an incline plane in which everything is supposed to flow towards them with ease.

Life does not work this way. If you ever feel out of momentum with your creativity- your blogging, your art, your idea, your career, or whatever- I suggest you do one thing: Look where you can give. Look where you can put something out there to support the work of another and push that circle around.

I think the blogging world is a perfect example of this. I have gained SO MUCH by the comments and “likes” of others. You inspire me and provide momentum to my circle of creativity.

I also gain from my role in reading and commenting on the work of others. As I read blogs, as I comment and take in new perspectives, I am completing the loop and generating more power.

I work with some artists, though, who only see a 1-way direction to the artistic process. They think creativity means they put their work out there and then comments and accolades flow to them. They miss the point of the circle and loop- you get what you give.

If you want momentum in your art and life, you must support those acts in others.

Life is not an incline plane (or if this is how you view life, I would be cautious- we have all heard the saying of what exactly flows down hill 🙂 )

Give to the creative process in others. Support work and words from someone else and watch how your own creative circle gains momentum.

The Secret to Life that Every Artist Knows…

The act of living life requires us to be creative.

And every artist can tell you one of the secrets to creating (and being successful, however you define this) is to put something out there.

Woman does not live by bread alone, and woman does become a success by ideas alone.

Life works best in a symbiotic, synergistic relationship.

You put something out there- a blog, a new plan at work, a new design, a change to your home- and Life synergistically and I might add, enthusiastically, sees, “Hey! I have someone doing something here. I have someone creating, putting things out there on the physical plane. I can work with this.”

And the returns start happening- momentum surrounds your blog, the new plan at work generates attention from your boss, your new design stimulates other new ideas and so on.

Artists know this idea in their bones. An artist knows it’s nice to have a great image in mind for the next painting or the melody mapped out in one’s head for a new song, but these don’t mean a whole lot unless you put them out there.

Life, and the energy inherent in it, enacts on the physical plane. If you want to be successful and feel as if Life is working for you and not against you, then put yourself out there.

Give something to Life, and let Life have something to work on for you.

Want to Change Your Life?… The Exponential Effect of Momentum

The other day I taught the first section of a microbiology course. We managed to get through 12 powerpoint slides with approximately 16 interruptions.

For some reason, it seemed that every idea that entered a student’s head culminated in a raised-hand and a “I have a question” comment. My favorite was the sudden request about the possibility of a study guide for the FINAL exam- a mere 16 weeks and 32 classes away.

I knew I needed to rein this class in otherwise my projected 16-week microbiology curriculum was going to end up being more along the lines of an 18-month program.

I knew what I wanted to say to this class this morning. I had my speech planned and was sitting at my desk working on my leadership book when I came across a great line for success in life in general- and it definitely applied to this class.

The quote had to do with momentum. And I realized this was my point to this class. By interrupting so much, we had no momentum as a class.

The workbook I was reading stated that momentum was the “great exaggerator”. When you have good momentum, everything seems possible, mistakes seem like challenges, challenges become opportunities and so on.

When you have no momentum, every little thing seems to be insurmountable. You feel the world is against you and nothing is going to change.

The quote made me realize that momentum is something you create for yourself (or in my case, the class) and momentum has an exponential effect. A little momentum can carry the energy leading to the most profound changes.

Even tiny things done to create momentum have the potential of exponential growth.

What I am trying to say is that the small things you are doing for yourself matter. So take the time and build some momentum.

Write a paragraph or two. Go to the yoga class that you know helps you. Get out your art supplies even if you have “no idea” what to do. Go to therapy, read a book, make a conscious effort to evaluate your life.

Momentum is the result of your thoughts and actions. Baby steps build one upon the other, and momentum is the secret, exponential factor in the mix, leading to success.

You create the momentum, and it gives back to you, several-fold.

When Your Inner Artist Decides to Become Your Life Coach

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I don’t think any one can be creative without a strong Inner Artist. I know a stereotype of artists can be that of the fragile individual, suffering from the whims and fantasy of artistic creation.

I am here to tell you otherwise.

Well, actually, my Inner Artist is here to tell you otherwise. My Inner Artist is the most confident part of me, I believe. Where I am shy and quiet, my Inner Artist speaks loudly and uses the most bold colors to make its case.

When I read the blogs of others, I wonder if it is the same. If the writer is sometimes left with a sense of surprise at what the Inner Artist ended up saying – ALOUD and (shudder) IN PUBLIC.

Thus, it should come as no surprise to me that now that my Inner Artist has extra time on its hands (I am back to teaching full-time and not producing much visual art) it has decided that the best use of its self-defined endless awareness of life would be to become a Life Coach.

I am not kidding. In my life situations right now, I sense my Inner Artist’s voice speaking up and for the most part coaching me specifically to wait, to be patient, to let things evolve.

This is the artist in action before the creation- the quiet waiting time, when much goes on below the surface of consciousness.

And my Inner Artist is confident enough to wait for the time being, and unlike most of me, does not feel the compulsion to act! to do! to be hyper-aware! all the time.

So, I let my Inner Artist take the lead of my life. It has been my saving grace in so many ways, and I deeply sense the Inner Artist in others has done the same for them.

For all of us brave enough to create, to let the Inner Artist have its say, we are blessed with the most giving and aware of coaches in life.

When Your Inner Artist Checks into the Witness Protection Program

I have always said that every artist fulfills two roles- witness and creator.

To form art of any kind, you first have to be a witness. You need to observe.

And quite frankly, in this regard, your inner artist may not be the best at self-restraint. I forget sometimes that my inner artist is always “on” in response to possible material from which to create.

The past week has found my inner artist playing with the following ideas:

The strange happening of physician’s providing running commentary during pelvic exams; how difficult holidays can be for children of divorce; does God want me to change; that my husband, who seldom talks, becomes a veritable Chatty Kathy when we are in the hot tub together, and so on and so on.

Some think art derives from a linear process. I am here say otherwise. It’s scattershot at best.

Once something is witnessed by the inner artist, the event can be transformed by the creator. There is substantial power in this act- transforming events, ideas, perceptions, and I think as artists we take great joy in this aspect. To be able to transform something and make it yours is a heady power trip.

But lately, I have found my inner artist has checked itself into the Witness Protection Program. As this past week shows, it is MORE than happy to witness, but it would rather not come out and create.

When I think to my inner artist, “Hey, want to make some art?”

I am met with a rather blase- “No more. I want to be left alone.”

There is a part of me that wants to dig into this hesitancy. I want to question- am I tired? do I feel too off-center to create? Am I bored? What is going on?

And my inner artist, ever the observer, simply says, “You think too much. I just want to take a break.”

Sometimes Your Art and/Or Blog Just Wants to Be Quiet: The Dormant State of Artistic Creation

The ideas are present and awaiting your attention. As importantly, you have the time to write and create. Yet, the feeling that you get from your blog and/or art is that they just want to be quiet.

I consider this to the be “mole time” of art. We crave the darkness, not the light and attention. We want warm, moist, fertile Earth to surround and hold us. Our eyes turn inwards, now outwards.
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This is the dormant/seed state of every artist. It is different then an artistic or writing block. In such blocks, no ideas appear. No, this dormant time deviates, because the ideas are there. It’s not that you are too tired or lazy to produce anything, it’s just that you need sustenance. You need the quiet before the emergence. You need the dark to protect your resources, not expend them.

Seeded State

Seeded State

You want to pull things inwards, not express them outwards. When I am in these times, I feel as if I am in a “seeded state”. Inner workings may be happening, but I am protected by a hard outer shell.

Often during these dormant times, I will crave another art form. I usually work in pastels. Today, I picked up markers. Two completely different media forms in terms of blendability, color selection, etc. It was just what my internal artist needed.

I don’t know what happened with the picture. The seed image came to me early on, but I love how the red, blood portion emerged. Blood, is obviously, sustaining, but for women, especially, it speaks to the cyclical nature of life, the ebb and flow.

Personally, I like these artistic quiet times, when my blog and art say “enough” with the ideas. Let’s just be.

Don’t Understand Me?….Then, You are not Paying Attention to My Art and Writing

Supported in the Womb

Supported in the Womb

I am always surprised, and then a bit mistrusting, when people say they love me and know me well, yet do not relate in anyway to my art.

I am not saying everyone has to “get” my art, or even like my art. What I am talking about is that some people in my life are completely blind to the fact I have an artistic nature and creating art and writing are very important to me.

In fact, I would argue that to know me in a significant way, all one would have to do is look to my art.

I do not mean that every person I know needs to read my blog and oooh…and…ahhhhh….over every picture and sketch as if they were that enchanting.

What I am talking about is the almost willful ignorance on the part of some “close” people in my life in regards to this aspect of me.
I don’t think it is as simple as them not liking my art or writing.

My art and writing is where I bare my soul, and I think some people would rather not see my soul.
They like the superficial, persona-induced version of me.

Art can be messy, confrontational, and raw. I think they prefer me in a prettier package.

Maybe this has happened to you. Perhaps there has been a subtle hint or two along the lines of “Oh, are you going to write about that?” “Wow, that picture is a little weird. What did you mean by that?”

Or sometimes it is hidden as concern. Upon seeing your art or blog some may say, “I am worried about you” which often times is simply code for “Your work disturbs my status quo.”

Anyway, art always reveals the soul and because our souls are on display they deserve respect- or at the very least, acknowledgment. It is a brave soul who is willing to emerge from hiding and manifest in they physical world and we do this all the time as artists and creative people.

When Your Art/Writing/Blogging Wants to go all “Humpty Dumpty” on You

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Art is a great teller of secrets. It can’t help itself. It’s compulsive that way. Patient, but compulsive. It will wait- years if needed- before slipping in an idea or two- the secrets you would rather not tell.

I read a book by Anne Lamott and she spoke about a writing class she was teaching. She told her students to write whatever came to them- even if their family or others would not like it.

She wrote that she remembered at least two instances in which students wrote about being made to choose their own switches to be struck with by a parent as punishment. Hmm….not the image most families would prefer be portrayed- most would prefer the stylized, contrived family portrait hanging over the mantle to the true stories.

And most likely not the topic these authors upon signing up for the class imagined they would feel internally called to write about.

But that is the thing about creativity. Its nails scratch at the door, refusing to go away until you let it in.

Lately, I have been feeling this sense. When the opaque stone is removed from the eye, everything is seen more clearly. Art, creativity, and blogging tend to dislodge the stone- but then you are confronted with the sense – if I even move one stone slightly, what if they all come toppling down upon me?

We are afraid sometimes that in writing our truth, we are playing with Humpty Dumpty. Things will fall, parts will shatter, and no one or no thing is putting Humpty or our lives back together again in quite the same way.

I have admired those bloggers who can write with cutting honesty- the kind of honesty that dislodges the opaque stone and pushes the fragile Humpty’s in their lives over the edge.

I don’t know what I will do next creatively, but I do know this- when something presses upon you creatively, you can not suppress it completely. You can choose how you want to manage it – maybe a private journal vs. a blog or a small sketch vs. a large piece of work or you may want to put it all out there. Whatever the choice, art and creativity demand the truth.

And if we leave the truth behind and hide from it, I believe our art and creativity leave us behind. Art requires honesty and in exchange for our honesty, art gives us resonance and truth.

How Your Blog May Heal You

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I write, at times, to heal. The words chosen for and by me must serve a dual purpose. They must both cut and close.

I am the surgeon requiring good flesh with which to work. I can be ruthless in my culling, slicing symbolic flesh to reveal what lies beneath the scars.

Words probing for the healthy tissue underneath. The vocabulary laid before me-startling-although I create and choose it.

The words become stitches, staccato-ing across the page, pulling the exposed flesh tighter- giving me a chance to renew the tissue once abused, closing wounds long ago forgotten or ignored.

The linking of the words becomes a trail of sutures. If you could feel the page, you would feel the bump-bump-bump of word/stitches, one after another, in orderly fashion, linked for divine purpose.

Doing what words of healing do- tightening the once vulnerable places into wholeness.