I’d heard anecdotes about people who quit writing after finishing their MFAs in creative writing. I enrolled in my MFA program of choice thinking that such an outcome was impossible for me. But I stopped writing before I even graduated.
I open Connect to Your Creativity with the story of how finishing my MFA tanked my desire to write, and the shame I felt surrounding my experience in the program and resulting loss of inspiration. And yet I didn’t feel like I could give people a practice to help them connect to their inner inspiration without acknowledging my own struggles as a writer. After several months making Connect to Your Creativity my focus, I’ll be launching it on April 11th. (Which means I’d better hurry up and finish that proofread so I can get to dealing with formatting!) This post is a little look at the process over the last few months.
This project was a good reminder that every creative endeavor takes time. I spent a long time in December doing a thorough outline of the project, and everything I thought would be included. Once I got into the thick of writing, however, the guide took on new dimensions, went in directions I hadn’t anticipated. Fortunately, that’s not unexpected. I’ve written two books, a few hundred poems, a few dozen short stories, and some essays in my life. I’m used to a project taking on a life of its own, and in fact, I consider that a sign that I’m in the flow, that I’m doing something right. I’m also used to projects taking longer than you think they will. While it was frustrating to push back my original release date, I knew waiting to make sure everything was perfect would be worth it.
One of the other good reminders from this project is that I need to pace myself. I love doing projects like Connect to Your Creativity. I’m a project-based thinker. That being said, I also need time to teach classes. I need time for study and for my personal practice. I’m not giving up my day job anytime soon. And of course, I need to have space to get outside, cultivate other hobbies, and spend time with my friends and my dog. I had an initial plan that in 2019, I would produce Connect to Your Creativity, do another Advent Calendar in December, and put together two more large-scale recording-based projects. I’ve since scaled back, which is okay with me. I want Connect to Your Creativity to stand on its own rather than being crowded out by a bunch of other projects.
Thanks to my practice, I have re-imagined my approach to writing, re-envisioned what it means for me to be a writer. I’ve scrapped most of my thesis, taking the poems I still love and making a completely new manuscript. I’m starting my creative life over, exploring new possibilities with gratitude to have veered off my old path and entered into new territory.
As I was finishing my MFA, I was longing for ways to synthesize yoga and poetry (beyond reading poems in yoga class, of course!). A year ago, I was feeling depleted, defeated, and miserable. I had no idea that this work was coming down the line. Connect to Your Creativity is the synthesis of my creative and yogic endeavors. It really is the integration of my creative practice and my yoga practice. And it’s shown me that these two areas of my life don’t need to be mutually exclusive.