Draft One – Where I’ve Been
My Journey to the Here and Now
This is my first ‘official’ post in my new RachelleFordyce.com Creative Inspiration blog, marking the embarkment of my new creative journey in the realm of the blogosphere. The general theme of my blog is “Inspired Living for Creative People”. You can read more about my view of creativity and what it means to be a creative person by checking out my home page. It’s my intent that this blog will serve as a means of inspiration for both myself and others.
In terms of my ongoing creative journey as a theatre artist, I’ve been writing and creating plays for approximately seven years now. I wrote my first play in 2003 and I gave it the title “Hate Your Job? Quit! – Eve Rae Mann and the Pursuit of Happiness”. I self-produced and performed it locally at an International Fringe Theatre Festival.
Since then, I’ve created a handful of other plays, including rewrites of some of my previous works. Thus far, all of my completed plays have been written with the intent that I would self-produce and perform the plays myself. Although many of my plays and performances have been met with great feedback from critics and audience members alike, I’ve never really thought of myself as an accomplished playwright. Having just said that, I’m forced to ask myself – Why not?
Why shouldn’t I consider myself to be an accomplished playwright?
I’ve accomplished the task of writing several plays. These plays have indeed seen the light of day, versus the alternate of never having been brought into reality, performed in front of an audience. Sure, I produced and performed them myself; yet that fact does not negate the legitimacy of the results. I’ve received great reviews from both audience members and critics, including a few four-star reviews gathered along the way. Conclusion? Well, whaddya know – I am an accomplished playwright! 😉
Draft Two – Where I Am
You Are Here
You might not consider yourself to be a writer, accomplished or otherwise. But hey – guess what? You are! You may simply not realize it. I am an accomplished play-write, and likewise, you are an accomplished life-author. i.e. you are the writer, or author, of your life.
If you’re still dubious as to whether or not you should consider yourself to be an accomplished life-author, consider this: Have you ever made any decisions, and then followed through on those decisions with action? If the answer is “Yes”, then congratulations! You are indeed an accomplished life-author. Your degree of accomplished-ness depends on how skilled you are at bringing your creations into being. It doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re awesome at it or just starting to get the hang of it. Either way, you’re still a writer. 😉
As a writer, there are infinite possibilities available to you. With each moment, you are continually writing the next sentence, paragraph, and page in the story of your life. With so many choices of paths, paragraphs, and possibilities available to you, it’s no wonder you may, from time to time, find yourself uncertain as to the next paragraph to write, or the next path and destination to journey towards. Heck, I know I sure do! This uncertainty and indecision essentially equates to writer’s block, or in other words, procrastination. How can we prevent ourselves from getting stuck in the limbo of perpetual possibilities of the here and now? I’m still working on that myself. Here’s part of what I’ve discovered so far.
In the interest of Getting Somewhere, let’s compare the decision to embark on a creative journey to the decision of taking a trip.
Draft Three – Where I’m Going
Your Creative Journey – Taking a Trip
So, you’ve decided to take a trip. Exciting! Now it’s time to start planning your trip.
Before you start planning your trip, it’s essential to consider your motivation or reason for taking the trip in the first place. Why did you decide to take this trip? There are likely two main motivators:
1 – You’re passionate about traveling and the idea of a trip seems really fun to you. It excites you. You desire a change of pace and scenery; you want to go somewhere – anywhere – other than where you are now. You want to immerse yourself in a new experience.
2 – You have a specific target destination in mind that you’d love to visit. You anticipate you’ll gain specific desired experiences once you arrive at your destination. Thus, you make the decision to take a trip in order to ensure your arrival at your desired destination and to in turn achieve your desired experiences.
It’s possible for both of the above motivators to simultaneously propel you to take your trip, but for now, let’s imagine it’s an either/or approach. I’ll address the scenario of when and how to simultaneously include both motivators later on in this article.
Knowing your reason or purpose for taking the trip is essential in order to effectively plan for and get the most out of your trip. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking a suddenly inspired impromptu spur-of-the-moment trek to some exotic locale. In fact, those kind of trips are often the most memorable and rewarding kind. Yet even impromptu trips require at least some minimal amount of planning.
Seeing as there are two main motivators that can compel you to take a trip, there are in turn two main approaches that can be taken when planning and executing your trip. One approach focuses on the journey.
Draft Four – Planning Your Trip
Focus on The Journey
If you’ve decided to take a trip but you have no idea where you’re going (yet), it’s quite likely that your trip’s focus will be on the journey itself rather than on the destination. In the context of deciding to embark on a creative journey, this approach is akin to saying something like, “I want to write a play (or something else, like a book, or a screenplay, etc)”. It’s a very general and loose goal you want to achieve or accomplish. In this example, you don’t yet know what you want to write about, or what you want your message to be. You expect that those will be something you discover along your way. For the time being, you just know that you’d like to write something and practice or explore that skill, and take things as they come from there. No clear destination has yet been determined, and thus your focus is on the experiences to be gained from taking a journey.
Focusing on the journey can be a valid approach to planning your trip as long as what you’re seeking is congruent with that form of approach. If in fact you want to achieve a specific and concrete end result like the first draft of a play or a final draft of a blog post, then focusing on the journey is likely not the best approach you want to take.
Focusing on the journey can be a great path to discovery, as it’s essentially akin to traveling without a map. When you focus on the journey, you have no clear idea of what’s around you; your surroundings only become clear once you’ve departed on the journey as you sketch out and create your own map. You’re an explorer, treading new uncharted territory. On the other hand, it’s possible that this territory has already been charted and that someone else has already made a map to help out and save others from the trouble of charting out their own maps. But if you want to have the experience of traveling without a map, then by all means, focus on the journey.
When you focus on the journey, you leave yourself open to new experiences that you might not notice had your focus been narrowed on the arrival of a specific destination. You may wish to focus on the journey if it’s possible that numerous paths and numerous destinations might supply you with the new experiences you desire.
In terms of a creative endeavor, focusing on the journey equates to focusing on the creative process versus focusing on the end product and result. If you love the creative process, such as writing, then you’ll likely agree with Greg Anderson’s stance in his famous quote, “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
Draft Five– Planning Your Trip
Focus on The Destination
On the other hand, perhaps you’re like Dorothy Parker, who said, “I hate writing, I love having written”. In Parker’s case, joy is found in having completed a creative activity and finally arriving at the destination of delivering creatively valuable content. If you’re like Parker, you may want to plan your trip by focusing on the destination.
When you decided to take a trip with a specific focus and target destination in mind then it seems natural to conclude that you’ll want to plan your trip by focusing not on the journey, but on the destination. In the context of deciding to embark on a creative journey, this approach is akin to saying something like, “I want to write a play that shares my experiences providing over-the-phone technical support for a high-speed internet provider, set in a call centre. I want my message to express the dehumanizing soulless aspects of working in this environment and other similar environments. I want to plant the seed of the notion that life and work doesn’t have to be this way.” This is certainly a lot more specific. You have your coordinates set. The next big question is, “How do I get there from here?”
Focusing on the destination is a desired approach to planning your trip as long as what you’re seeking is congruent with that form of approach. If in fact you want to achieve certain results that can be derived or experienced from your journey to and arrival in a variety of locations, then narrowing your focus to a specific destination may not necessarily be the best approach for this trip.
Focusing on the destination can be a great path to getting things done. It’s akin to traveling with a map because it’s clear what direction you need to head toward in order to get to your destination. When you focus on the destination and on the path you need to travel to get from point A to point B, you have a clear idea of your immediate surroundings and what you can expect to encounter as you get closer and closer to your destination. The territory you’re treading is not necessarily new, as a map already exists and shows you the different routes you can take to get there.
If your desire is to achieve specific concrete measurable results, then you’ll certainly want to travel with a map, and you’ll most definitely want to keep your focus on the destination.
One thing to be conscious of is to realize when you narrow your focus on arriving at a specific destination, you block yourself from the possibility of taking other paths that might very well lead you to other potential destinations; these other potential destinations might turn out to be more in tune with the experiences you desire to create for yourself.
Draft Six – Getting There
The Destination and The Journey
Embarking on a new creative journey with a focused destination of a concrete result can be a very daunting task. You may find that planning your creative excursion by focusing on only the journey or only the destination would be an inadequate approach.
As a creator, it’s important to realize embarking on a new creative journey and toward a new creation equates to journeying toward a destination that does not yet exist. This means that the destination you seek cannot yet be located on any map, because that destination has not yet been brought into existence. You must first complete your journey before you can bring your destination into being.
The act of creating something new will inevitably involve the need for you to focus on the path of your journey, sketching out your own new map while simultaneously keeping your targeted destination in the focus of your mind. Otherwise, if you lose sight of the importance of reaching your destination, you risk the chance of getting lost or stuck or running in aimless circles. Sure, you’ll still learn and grow from your aimless wanderings; however, doing so would result in your creating new experiences for yourself and yourself alone. If you want to create something new that can be shared you’ll need to focus on both the journey and the destination.
If you’re creating a destination that’s never yet existed, how will you know when you get there? You will know you have reached the destination of your creative journey once you stop tinkering with the map and are able to pass on the map and share your journey and destination with others.
Knowing when to stop tinkering with perfecting your journey and map to your destination is a whole other adventure unto itself, one that I personally struggle with. What can I say – it’s the perfectionist in me. Even Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” I know if I ever want to get anywhere, I need to keep my destination in mind and not focus so much on perfecting the journey. So too is the case when traveling. A creative journey is never finished, only abandoned. The point of abandonment is the point where your destination has sufficiently been created and brought into being. You can now share your map, journey and destination with others.
Final Draft – Departure = Arrival
The Journey IS The Destination
It was Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu who said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”.
What I find so amazingly wonderful about a creative journey is that it contains within itself a potentially infinite amount of destinations, and therefore a potentially infinite amount of journeys. Each step denotes the simultaneous departure and arrival of one destination to another. Each step within a journey marks the simultaneous initiation and completion of a journey unto itself.
In other words, as you journey along, each step you take leaves behind a previous destination. Simultaneously, each step you take creates a new destination within the journey.
As you depart one destination, you arrive at another. As you complete one journey, you initiate another.
Each step in the journey is a destination unto itself. The destination is the journey, and likewise, the journey is the destination.
We are all on a perpetual, ever-continuing creative life-journey. Each destination reached is but a step in the journey of your life.
I always strive to journey towards creating and experiencing new destinations, otherwise I know I risk the chance of growing stagnant. Stagnation would equate to a pretty boring journey because it would mean you’re not going anywhere!
When we journey towards creating and experiencing new destinations, we create new maps. We learn from the new path we’ve taken. We grow. And we can help others journey along these new paths, sharing the maps of the journeys and destinations we’ve created.
If you’re reading this now, I’d like to thank you for traveling with me as I embark on my first step along this new creative journey that is this blog and website. This post is both the first step and the first destination along the path of my new journey. Feel free to share my map with others! I may not have perfected the map, but perhaps it may still serve to be helpful to you. I hope you enjoyed the trip, fellow writer. 😉
As writers, life-authors, and conscious creators, realize your destination is also your journey. The explorer is also the map-maker. The creator is also the creation. The artist is also the art and masterpiece. And the writer is also the protagonist and the story.
…Now, did I just write you into my journey-story, or did you write me into yours? 😉