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Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Air That I Breathe

What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success are irrelevant?

Some questions can be life altering. Since first coming across the one above in Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic in 2015, I've used it dozens of times to free myself from creative paralysis. What works for you under similar circumstances?

On frustrating days I've had playing my guitar since 2015, one thing is guaranteed to get me out of my head - that question. It also helps silence my inner critic when that voice second guesses the value of a blog post. Even if they're never played for anyone, songs get completed because that question reminds me how alive I feel in the act of creating.

"...leaving me with only two choices: I can resume the slog … thereby risking further failure and despair, or I can guarantee failure by not pushing through." That gobsmacking insight about the exquisite pain of the creative process is from Sally Mann's 2015 memoir Hold Still. When I unearth a gem like Mann's insight or Gilbert's question, I'm reminded yet again of the restorative power of the written word. Words like these are oxygen for my own creative process.      

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