My Creative Voice

Trying to add value, make sense of what's coming next and keeping things going in the same direction.

Creative U-Turns

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Signs for U-turn ramps on US 22 in Union Count...

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I’ve gotten a bit behind in journaling about my Artistic Way endeavour.  Maybe the title of this post is more apropos than I thought.  My plan is to U-turn and review what I’ve learned on this interesting journey.  It has been interesting.  I’ve got two more weeks to go on this course and then another two courses to go.  That is if I don’t take a U-turn in the other direction.

Direction has been one of the major reasons I’ve been doing this program.  That and I love to learn.  This section dealt with times where we back track on our creativity and don’t embrace our talents as we should.  We get afraid and almost sabotage any efforts at success.  We write a piece and hide it away.  We paint a piece and stow it in the back of the closet.  We create a beautiful photo and show it to no one.  U-turns to our blocked selves that made us so unhappy in the first place.

I was happy to discover that so far my U-turns have been small and recoverable.  I have walked away from the process for a few days but not writing.  The process is painful.  The process makes me get up inside my head which is a jumbly bumbly place to be.  I like order.  I like things in place.  I do not embrace chaos.  When I get up inside my head it’s like someone took my filing cabinet in my brain, broke the lock, kicked it open and threw the files everywhere.  Very unsettling.  Very much a place I would U-turn away from.

Instead of running away completely, I’ve worked the program the best way I can.  The morning pages have been hard because they become a place of negativity and anger.  I recognize that I need to deal with these issues but who the hell wants to start or end their day in a pissy mood ?  People do that to me all day.  No need to stir it up on purpose.  It’s akin to trying to train a dog to come to you by smacking it on the nose.  Come here ! we say.  Slowly Fido makes his way over. Smack! Not fast enough.  Fido sits there going What the hell was that for ? and slinks away.  The one who is supposed to have the big brain says Come here ! Fido says Screw you Mack and keeps walking.  Fido and I had a lot in common for a few of the chapters.

I had a moment the other night where what was supposed to be a listening exercise with the Creator became my inner critic having a stomping day on my self-esteem.  It was suggested at the beginning of the course to name the critic.  I did not.  I’ve had a U-turn and decided to name the bitch.  Her name is Ursula.  Now I have nothing against anyone with that name.  It just strikes me as a take no crap, kick you in the butt kind of name.  I’m sure there is a masseuse somewhere who could take the kinks out of a bendy road with that name.

This particular night I was trying to listen to anything the universe had to tell me.  I know that sounds kind of wacky but I’m a look for signs, superstitious kind of person anyway so listening for strange voices does not freak me out.  However, on this night Ursula showed up and she was pissed.  I had a stream of consciousness writing moment filled with such vitriol that I literally dropped the pen at the end.  I was spent.  I hadn’t realized that this kind of venom still existed about my decision to write and embrace the creative process.  I thought I had gotten past it.  It was a U-turn moment in the flesh.

Rather than let this get me down, I woke up the next morning, ripped that page out of my book without reading it, tore it up and recycled it.  I thought about setting fire to it but that seemed a bit extreme.  Getting it out of my house was enough.  Once upon a time, that type of self-esteem shit kicking would have sent me off the creative path with no compass to find my way back.  Not so this time.  I leaned in to the situation.  Allowed myself to accept that the critic was not completely under control.  And moved on.

Will I have any more creative U-turns ? No doubt I will.  I’m exploring some learning options now that could help my creativity.  I’m exploring different authors for new ideas and new ways of writing.  I’m exploring more prose and short story ideas.  In short, to me a creative U-turn can go both ways.  One might lead you away from the creative gifts you have and stifle the urge to write or paint or take pictures.  Or you might find yourself looping back around, re-paving the road and heading towards creative fulfilment and maybe even some happiness.  It’s a journey I can’t wait to take.

Author: Elizabeth Plouffe

Writer, communicator, entrepreneur, tea enthusiast (bordering on fanatic) who enjoys helping others connect. Cookbook reader, cottage lover, book devourer (apparently I make up my own language too) and seeker of the ambition to exercise.

2 thoughts on “Creative U-Turns

  1. I think we all have the inner critic and I’m not sure that it ever fully goes away. I’m not even sure that it should go away entirely, because without any self-criticism, how would we separate between things we’re pleased with and things we know that need work? I think that the inner-critic can be a great help, but you need to get her over to your side so that she works with you, instead of against you, giving you constructive and helpful criticism instead of beating the crap out of you.

    • Very true. I’m usually pretty good about the positive self talk but that night – she was a pure bitch. I’ve started studying Buddhism to provide some tools for stress management and positive self esteem. Let’s see where some namaste will get me !

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