Pushing cooked spaghetti

I had a cross-Austin drive today, so I listened to another Creative Giant podcast. Halfway through, I heard:

“We try to put all this structure around us [and our creative practice] because we don’t trust ourselves. But when we get in the creative play zone…things come out.” -Cynthia Morris

My brain promptly skidded off into my worn groove–in over thirty years of my acknowledged writing practice (or forty-five, if we go by family history), structure in my writing-life has been my bane. Hence this post’s title: little is more frustrating than imposing external structure on cooked noodles, trust issues notwithstanding.

Come to think on it, maybe my early writing history is part of why I have such trouble routinizing it. My mom gave me a typewriter when I was three so she didn’t have to interrupt what she was doing each time the muse took me. (Yep, picture that: tiny Kimbol tugging at her mother’s hip in 1972, “Mommy! Mommy! Write it DOWN.”) All things, at age three, are play.

By the time I went to Hollinsummer in the early 80s, I had been composing for more than a decade. And mostly for myself. Even those other-focused, reactive exercises called school assignments I could generally twist into something that pleased me.

But still. But still. Even though I know my writer’s voice and deeply trust that my muse will always return, this isn’t a scalable model of proactive creativity. A full-time vocation is definitely a scale-up challenge. Sigh.

Also in this podcast: “What is it you write about?”

And, paraphrased from an HBR article (which I can’t seem to re-find): Doing what’s in front of you gets more of present-you. What does future-you need?

She needs to sit down with the (currently untouched) workbook, she does. That writing will do for now.

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