Being an Open Channel

In Julia Cameron's book 'The Right to Write' she says, "In a sense, our creativity is none of our business. It is a given, not something to be aspired to. It is a natural function of the soul." One of her tools in the book is what she calls guided writing or "channeled writing". We need to step aside and let the "Great Creator" work through us. It's about setting paintbrush to canvas, or pen to paper, and becoming an open channel to the flow of creativity.

So how do we do that? How do we tap into that flow? You can start by simply writing down every idea that comes into your head. I keep a journal at my bedside so I can write down my thoughts as they come to me. This is where I write my morning pages. I also keep an idea book with me always. I never know when an idea will strike. Sometimes I have to pull over in my car to write something down. (I use traffic jams to my advantage!).

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 'Eat, Pray, Love', gave a great TED talk on how we can nurture our creativity. She said in ancient Greece and Rome people believed that creativity was this divine spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source. I love how she describes American Ruth Stone's experience of "writing" a poem - she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape and would "run like hell" from the fields where she was working, to get to her house so she could write it down before it rumbled on past her like a thunderstorm...

So keep an idea book beside you and when you suddenly find yourself wide awake from some brilliant idea that came to you in a dream, you can capture it onto the page. And when you are at a red light or stuck in traffic, you can use it to your advantage... Ideas have a way of disappearing as fast as they come. Once you begin to write everything down, you'll be amazed at how the ideas begin to flow. It opens the channel.

To quote Julia Cameron again, "Writing is about getting something down, not about thinking something up."