How We Discover Ourselves In Our Art

imgresA while back I was ill with a really bad case of flu (and for the record, it was real flu, not man flu). It tied me to my bed for a few days. It was the kind of ill where your mind drifts and you can hardly speak or think straight.

I barely had the strength to stand up and get dressed, yet alone to reflect on anything and write it down.

But with regards to my writing, it was more like a great excuse. Because in truth, I’d been battling writers block for a while. What this period of illness did was give me an excuse not to even fight anymore.

I’d done my standard tactic of sitting down and simply waiting for something to come out. Waiting to see what was inside. It usually works. But I seemed to have lost the motivation and energy to even try that. 

So what was wrong?

When I got well again it was my birthday, so I was busy with family and partying with friends. I still had no time to write anything. My computer had been frustrating me too, being too slow and winding me up (it’s still doing it right now, as I write).

Writing had become a duty, an obligation, not a calling or passion. And I began to realise something was missing from my life. An almost forgotten love. Buried deep inside me was this yearning, longing, and deep love for words.

Deep inside I knew this. And for irrantional reasons, I had been afraid to engage with it

Fighting For My Words

I knew however, my words were waiting for me. A lost love desperate for me to take up arms and fight for her. So reluctantly I opened my laptop, and somehow began to press my fingers on the keyboard. One letter at a time.

That was all I had. Single letters. Nothing coherent.

But from single letters, words began to form. Then the words turned into paragraphs. And the paragraphs became a blog post. One which I actually shared here a couple of weeks back, on the why of suffering.

Writing (Caleb Roenigk)It was a topic which had been marinading in me for weeks. But which fear, illness and disillusionment had prevented me from writing.

And as I poured out my heart, something shifted. It wasn’t an unfamiliar process. I’d felt this before. The sudden realisation that I was in the midst of something sacred. Something divine.

In that moment, I came alive again.

The words I’d poured out were like oxygen to the truest part of my soul. They revived me. They brought me to life again. It was as if I’d been a walking dead soul, which had now discovered it’s heartbeat again.

I felt myself again. I had come back from the dead.

And as the blood pumped and the life flowed, so did the words. They poured out from me like water from a newly discovered well.

I had found myself in my words.

With the tap of each letter, I unlocked the password to my true self. (you can tweet that)

Each word lighting the pathway to my heart.

Has the writers block ended completely? No. I’m still struggling – more on that next week. But little moments like this remind me of why I fell in love with writing in the first place. They remind me that deep down, this is a love that won’t die. I’ll always come back to it. Because I love it. And it’s in the words I discover my deepest, truest self.

We all find ourselves in our art. Whether we’re pros or amateurs, whether millions see our work or only ourselves, the truth is when we show up and engage in our creative work, when we create from our authentic self, we find ourselves right there.

Whatever you create, there you are.

And in the process, you may find healing, and life like you never knew.




Question for Reflection:

How do you deal with creative block?

Share you story in the comments below!




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(Picture Sources: / Caleb Roenigk via Creative Commons)

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  1. Elyse Salpeter on May 25, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    “I unlocked the password to my true self.” That is a fantastic line. Glad to hear things are moving along on the writing front.

    • James Prescott on May 25, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Thanks Elyse, really appreciate that, very kind. Yes, things are moving forward for sure, in unexpected ways. More next week

  2. Anne Peterson on May 25, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Enjoyed this James. I just keep writing when I feel blocked. And as I do I feel the words that were hiding, yet wanting to come out are pushed out in the stampede. Glad you are feeling better too.

    • James Prescott on May 25, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks Anne, glad it spoke to you. I do feel better…next week I’ll be sharing about a decision I’ve made about blogging, related to this post. Thanks again Anne.

  3. Scott Bury on May 25, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    A letter at a time, then words, then a flood. It sounds like you drilled through the block. Well done!

  4. Bob Nailor on May 25, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    As always, a great moment of self-reflection set to words.

  5. Tara Fairfield on May 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I’m glad you are giving yourself permission not to write, to take a break and not force the process.

    • James Prescott on May 25, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks Tara – I’ve already found the process really liberating.

  6. Jim Woods on May 25, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    I find that writer’s block is often me trying to rush things or doing to many things at once. Either way, it is important to give myself time to think about things before writing them. And just as important is intentionally giving myself inspiration. Without inspiration, there is nothing to create.

    • James Prescott on May 25, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Absolutely Jim, totally agree – we can’t create anything worthwhile without inspiration. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Luke Kuhns on May 25, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Great write up man!

  8. lisajey on May 25, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I always step away and truly let it go. But I don’t often get creative block. HOWEVER, I set Ms. Cheevious (the book) aside for a few years until I could “feel” it again, and then I elicited help from a very good friend who knew me to help me craft what I wanted to say, and how… It was more of a principle that kept me from writing it, though, as I’d won awards and thought I should be able to get published by a big publisher… LOL

    • James Prescott on May 25, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks for sharing this story Lisa Jey – interesting how you didn’t ‘feel’ a book (or character) for a while, and had to go away and come back. Fascinating stuff…but definitely resonate with the principle you speak of too lol!

  9. Charles Dougherty on May 25, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Congratulations, James! One letter at a time — It’s like the old proverb about a journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step.

    • James Prescott on May 25, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Absolutely Charles, that maxim is so true in writing, as in life. Great comment, thanks!

  10. Diane Rapp on May 25, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Each of us must battle that dreaded block, and I believe you’ve found your way. Keep tapping single keys and we await the many pages that will come.

    • James Prescott on May 25, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks Diane, appreciate your encouragement and support!

  11. yify codec on May 25, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Great Write Bro…Good Post James

    Techno Masters

  12. ANNIE EVE on May 27, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Thanks very much for sharing your life, James, I’m just discovering your blog.. I felt the same some days ago. When I can’t write a word, I write prayers. I pour my heart before God. He doesn’t need great litterature, He needs my heart. David did it, Asaph did it. Why could’nt we ? And suddenly my fingers get alive… and I realize Who is for me… and what I can do if I only trust. Blessings from France…

    • James Prescott on May 27, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Thanks for your kind comment and encouragement Annie, great to have you here, and wonderful to have someone from over the channel, France is one of my favourite places. So glad the post resonated with you – and thanks for sharing your own story, resonate completely, and indeed, so many in history have done the same. Great comment, and delighted to welcome you here, hope the blog continues to bless you.

  13. David Mike on May 30, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I haven’t had writer’s block yet. When I’m done with my book I’m sure it will come.

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