Tomorrow I begin the journey of writing 30 poems in 30 days, which, for the arithmetically challenged, is a poem a day.
It is unusual for a writer, in particular a poet, to find themselves under pressure to write on a daily basis. We usually sit around, waiting for the muse to pop in for a cuppa and drop a gem down amongst the madelines. The only time we tend to “crank it up”, is when we have a slam coming up; spiritually advanced we might claim to be, but competition is still a powerful motivation for poets!
Just in time for me to face this challenge, I happened to watch a TED talk on creativity, by Elizabeth Gilbert, best known as the author of “Eat, Pray, Love”. In this she talks of the concept of “genius”, which began life as belief in a special spirit, a genius, who lived in the walls, and came out to assist artists.
Suspend your scepticism for a moment and think of the power of behaving “as if”, around this paradigm. In doing this, we take much of the ego out of our work, and see ourselves as channels, rather than tortured creatives. Our job, then, is to turn up to the page, and do the work. Either the genius will appear or not. That is not in our control.
And thus the path I wish to follow over the next 30 days. Using this time as a chance to practice simply turning up to the page and doing my part. Will the genius appear? I don’t know, and I don’t care. My job is to write a poem a day for the next 30 days. No where does it say “30 GREAT poems in 30 days”. This is no time to be a princess. It’s time to get down on the commons and till the fields with the rest of the bloody peasants.