Monday, February 20, 2012

Head-to-Heart Posture

John Gardner said “Never let them awaken from the dream of the book.” I say “Create the dream by keeping your head at the heart of your story.”

This applies to any creative project you undertake – your novel or memoir or nonfiction – your painting or sculpture or media construct – your current challenge on the job or at home.

In order to go to the deep center of your work and mine what is there you must dwell in that center as long and as completely as is possible for you.

Discipline is a cold and starchy word but being disciplined is neither a cold nor starchy exercise. Discipline is about keeping ourselves inside the work – at its core and its soul.

Paydirt is down there at the beating heart of whatever you are doing. This is the source of your most moving material – the stuff that will snap your audience to attention and connection and cause them to exclaim.

“Wow. I get that. I want to go there again.”

To inspire this reaction you must go there yourself – to the heart place where connecting begins. Then you must stay there – on some level – until at least the wild creating phase of the work is done.

For me this means devoting morning time and energy and sticking with it. For you this means finding the form of devotion that is right for you and sticking with it.

We keep on doing whatever we can to keep our heads at the heart of the work and we do so consistently. That brings the work alive. That brings us alive. And this is the dream from which we will not wish to awaken.

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