stories with vitamins

About Devotion

Jan 31, 2019 by Mark Siegel, in Creativity , Journal

SEVEN VITAMINS FOR THE CREATIVE LIFE

Call-over 4 of 7: DEVOTION

A genuine devotion is regular, constant, not intermittent or erratic. A mother to a newborn child. A pianist to their keys. An athlete to their sport. There's durable intention and commitment on the road to doing anything extraordinary.

It's almost like our persistence, repetition, our ten thousand tries send a signal of meaning business, to something. Whether it's artistry, or scientific research, or parenting, fencing, or baking, or even one's marriage—it's like the gods of that pursuit don't just respond to casual interest.

Elizabeth Gilbert gives a lovely insight into this devotional aspect of the Creative Life in her famous TED talk.

I was especially taken by the difference between the ancient Roman idea of having a Genius, meaning this other life that attends your life, and supplies the magic and inexplicable brilliance—versus the Renaissance humanist shift to being the genius. Leonardo, the genius. Michelangelo, the genius. And the door opened to egomania... Very interesting.


 
 
Gilbert makes the point that the devotion is not to making brilliant stuff, but as she says, to showing up—turning up at work, being available (more on that in another entry soon.)

Stephen King speaks to this in his exquisite memoir On Writing: 
Don't wait for the muse. As I've said, he's a hardheaded guy who's not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn't the Ouija board or the spirit-world we're talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you're going to be every day from nine 'til noon. Or seven 'til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he'll start showing up.
For me showing up (so the muse knows where to show up) is timed to current projects. In terms of daily devotion, there's always some daily journaling doodle that's part meditation, part discovery. And although stories and projects have sprouted from these doodle journals, they aren't under any commercial pressure. In the end I don't want to be devoted to commerce, but to something else.

So morning journals don't have to be for public consumption:

 

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SEVEN VITAMINS FOR THE CREATIVE LIFE
Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 Part 6Part 7Part 8