Have you ever thought about what role desire plays in your writing and creating?
I’d say a starring role. Center stage. Cue the spotlight.
Or for another metaphor, desire is your creativity’s engine and fuel.
Desire gets you there and it keeps you going.
Without desire, you would create nothing.
Not even a toasted bagel with butter. (Yep, not a cream cheese fan. Texture issue.)
All creation starts with desire.
This means you must be willing to know what you want to create, listen to it, and give it respect.
Easier to say some days than do, am I right?
So many writers I work with struggle to say “I want to write” let alone “I want to write about ______” whatever interests them.
It’s in our interests and curiosities, sometimes so slight and stranger, that our true work arises.
There’s another aspect to desire and creativity that’s equally important: your creative desires must be negotiated.
Let’s use writing a novel as an example. Because I am writing one. 🦄
From the national best-selling author of The Woman’s Comfort Book and Why Bother.
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I have three main desires in writing this novel.
1) I want to be lost in my story and experience creative flow.
2) I want to write a novel with a traditional narrative structure, not because a traditional structure is better than a non-traditional or more experimental structure but it’s what I desire to create.
3) I desire to write a novel well. To stretch and learn the form.
These three desires are a bit at odds with one another. That’s where the negotiation comes in.
Engaging with a traditional narrative form isn’t easy for me.
This means writing these days is rarely a glorious flow but more of a puzzle I’m struggling to fit together.
A puzzle I desire to engage with but that’s at odds with my desire to be in creative flow.
Creative flow gets pouty if I spend too much time building the novel.
But if I neglect the building of the story in favor of writing scenes without asking if they work together, then my desire to write a novel that works well pulls at me.
Where I’ve gotten lost in the past, and where I see intensive participants and writing clients get lost, is when they believe writing should mostly feel good and flow (the desire for creative immersion) or something is wrong.
Wrong as in “Maybe I’m not really a writer” or wrong with their idea or project.
Or if they only tend to their desire to write something that “works” and don’t let themselves taste the magic of flow, they over focus on product and what other people think, which also leads to problems.
The truth is, desires conflict. Ambivalence is another word for being human.
Try making room for all your desires when you create.
Learn to relax while you hold the tension between them.
I believe the beauty and truth we want to create lies in the in-between spot, the gently held and consciously mediated tension between all we want.
What do you think?