notes on creating

When I go fishing, firstly let’s be honest – it’s usually because I’m accompanying Garret; secondly, I prefer fishing from the shore. The shore is safe. The shore will not spring a leak. The shore’s engine won’t die. When snakes swim onto the shore, you can run away.

lake at the ranch, empty boat

Though the view from the shore can be beautiful, the shore is by definition a limit. But, if you get in the boat and row and go, there’s more to be had. More water to cover and therefore more possibilities, with of course more risk.

Tonight I saw these photos from a cold day on the ranch and even though what we call The Lake is relatively small, I still see it through my child-eyes: spreading out blue and wide. Tonight my mind stirred-about on risk, creativity, and the futility of safety. Tonight I realized that’s how it’s been lately. Both new and old thoughts on creativity, discipline in creating, and writing continually dance anxious around my hands and heart.

I’ve been trying to read most everything related to those themes that I can get my hands on. I think it’s all leading somewhere, but for now I’m doing my best to listen, work hard, and learn to write and create every day. I’ve got a long way to go when it comes to discipline.

So here are some vibrant writers’ notes on creating and living that have inspired me of late. I recommend all of these articles in their entirety. (emphasis mine)

ranch lake

My only job—each and every day—is to empty myself, to do my daily work, and to try as much as possible to leave nothing unspoken, uncreated, unwritten.
I made a commitment that if any given day were my last I wanted to die empty, having completely divested myself of whatever insight or work was in me to share on that day. As I began to apply this principle to relationships, art and work, I felt a measure of peace even in the midst of busy times. Once I realized that I only have influence over the work that’s in front of me, I stopped trying to control things that were beyond my grasp.”
– Todd Henry, in his Why I Hope to Die Empty post

“The true writer simply shows up. Ready to do the work. Whether the work is successful or acknowledged is not important. Creating is our primary concern.” – Jeff Goins in his Writer’s Manifesto e-book, which you can get for free here.

In a word: Persist.
Persist on telling your story. Persist on reaching your audience. Persist on staying true to your vision. ”
– Pixar animator Austin Madison on Letters of Note, via Andrew Peterson on twitter.

ranch lake boat 2

“So, again, if you are a writer, you will write. You will also read—voraciously—because that is writer-food. … Don’t ever let me catch you anywhere without reading material.  ” – Communicatrix in Advice to a Young Aspiring Writer

What gets you jazzed? What could you talk for hours about? Write about that.” – Sarah Mae

“If you have a passion to write and feel called to do so, be serious about it. Set goals. Write as much as you can. Remember the 10,000 hour rule. To master something, you must spend 10,000 hours at it. Count the cost.” – Mary DeMuth via (in)courage

these shots were taken at our family ranch, Jan. 2011, white slim angel camera, 35mm.

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4 Responses to notes on creating

  1. snydeen says:

    What a wonderful post! The pictures are gorgeous and the idea of bringing your passion to your creativity is just terriffic. I loved the quotes!

  2. Ana Eugenio says:

    truly inspiring 🙂 just subscribed Jeff Goins newsletter. thank you for sharing 😉

  3. kkkkaty says:

    There is something about an abandoned boat that is illusive. Perhaps that is how creativity can be at times. You have a very interesting blog!

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