Finding the key that unlocks the door to our inner child is all part of the journey of writing. Whether we are free lancing articles for the NYT, submitting flash fiction for multiple magazines or working on a novel, the challenge is still going to be the same. Sooner or later you and I will find ourselves staring at a white screen and blinking cursor with an approaching deadline that has us unconsciously consuming more ant-acids than any human being should.
In her June 2012 post, Write Anywhere #42: Splash Pad, author, blogger and self-proclaimed recovering pessimist Kristin Nador asks the question, What do you do when you can’t shake the clouds (referring to the clouds in your heart and not over your head)? In it she addresses the issue of what to do when we, as writers, are feeling grey, tired or unproductive.
It isn’t that we don’t have great ideas or that we have nothing to say (in general those who are in the creative arts have more to say and express about themselves and others than there is media on which to do it with). But with all that creativity afoot we reach a point in the process where the mind stalls, the creative tide goes out and we find ourselves with either nothing to say or absolutely no idea how to say it.
Ann Liu, in her blog site marketingbyann.com said this about writer’s block …it is the patron demon of the blank page. Sometimes you may think you know EXACTLY what you’re going to write, but as soon as that evil white screen appears before you, your mind goes completely blank, nothing then.
Within every person lives both the left brain of the analytical adult (the one who behaves responsibly, reasons rationally and remembers to take the trash out on time) and the right brain of the capricious child (the younger us who knows that skies are not always above, mountains are really covered in cotton candy and fish are the messengers of the gods). But as we passed over the great divide between our childhood to our adulthood, we allowed ourselves to be conned into believing that it was time to grow up and put away childish things. To cut the apron strings to our inner child and become the man or woman we are told we should be.
And so the open breeze-way that used to exist between the right side of our brain ( intuitive, creative, free-flowing thoughts and images) and the left side (rational, index card filing administrator) was walled up and a door labeled MATURITY was put in its place.
Albert Einstein said this about our forced abandonment of childish ways, The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
The painter Pablo Picasso said, Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. Even Jesus of Nazareth told those who gathered to listen, that unless they became like little children they wouldn’t be able to understand, let alone enter into the kingdom of heaven.
So how do we go about accessing this inner child of creativity? What kinds of keys will it take to unlock the door and wedge it open so that we can once again enjoy the sense of joyful abandonment and creative imagery we once experienced as little kids?
Author and poet EE Orme recently shared her thoughts on how she taps into her inner child’s creative pen, Going close to the source which created me and asking for guidance is a powerful way to open the mind and heart to new thoughts and ideas… has helped shape whole sections of my books ….There is limitless possibility in silence, in being present in the moment, in listening to that creative well-spring from which all things are nourished.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” Insignificants is relative…creativity is imperative…go forth and create.
For childlike lawyer turned author Terry Brooks (creator of The Sword of Shanara series), shares this in his autobiographical book, Lessons From A Writing Life: Sometimes the Magic Works about accessing his own inner muse or inner child, …when my family and friends discover I am not listening to them or they catch me staring off into space, I can’t do a thing about it, because that’s just the way I am. It is the way all writers are I suspect. The muse whispers to you when she chooses, and you can’t tell her to come back later, because you quickly learn in this business that she might not come back at all.
Like many of us, these writer’s have had to learn where to find the keys that unlock the door to their inner child, and once opened, keep it that way. For EE Orme it is getting cozy with her Creator, with other’s it is going for a long drive or listening to music. For Kristin Nador who compares her lack of creativity to a cloud hanging over her heart, it is leaving her work and going to a local park where she can observe firsthand what it means to once again be like a little child.
For this writer it is closing out the program, getting up from her desk and doing something completely unrelated to whatever blog, article or book I’m currently working on. Cooking, gardening or reading is just a couple of the keys that unlock my inner child. Getting together with friends, watching a movie or day dreaming about living in a house on Cannon Beach, Oregon are a few more.
What we do to unlock our inner child is not as important as recognizing that without he or she, we are like ships without rudders, inventors without passion. Unless we intentionally find the key that releases the god like creativity within us, what we produce will be more like death than life. And at the end of the day, is that really what any of us want?
So what is it that unlocks your inner child? Is it going to a concert, walking on the beach, letting your hair down and shaken it with friends or maybe like EE Orme, getting off somewhere quiet and getting in touch with the inner voice of your spirit? Why not share your thoughts with the rest of us; who knows, your’s might be the key that helps someone else unlock their own inner child.
When a person is lucky enough to live inside of a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pain of this world disappears. For as long as the story goes on, the reality no longer exists. Paul Auster
From the laptop of an uncensored dreamer,