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Want to Be an Artist? Here’s the One Thing You Need to Know.

photo: katsrcool on flickr

First things first: Whether you realize it or not, you’re an artist.

Yes, you.

I don’t care if you can’t carry a note. Or if your paintings look like they were drawn by a kindergartner. With her eyes closed.

You’re an artist.

Wanna know how I know? I’ll tell you in a minute.

photo: Alex Brown on flickr

When I first started writing over a decade ago, I was full of inspiration. I wrote my first piece of fiction in my car. It was for a fan-fiction website called Whatever Weaver Wants. The television show “ER” had a lesbian subplot involving a character named Kerry Weaver. I was obsessed with the show, an obsession that catapulted me into writing.

I haven’t stopped since.

My early writing days were filled with torture. No, not whips or chains or anything kinky. The torture took place solely in my mind. I would write something and then decide it was crap. Worse than crap.

My mind chatter went a little something like this:

Why am I even bothering to write? I’m not a writer! I’m a producer of crap! I should cease and desist immediately, thus saving the world the excruciating experience of reading my words!

photo: David Goehring on flickr

Actually, no one was even reading my stuff at that point, so ceasing and desisting would have just saved me.

Only I didn’t want to be saved. In spite of my often-disparaging assessment of my work, I loved to write.

And when I wasn’t busy deciding my work was crap, I was sometimes thinking maybe it was okay.

Or maybe even better than okay. Maybe even, kinda, good.

Except this kind of thinking made me nervous, because I didn’t want to get a swelled head. So I’d go back to thinking it was crap.

It was like a roller coaster ride. The assessment of my writing would swing from crap to good to crap to good to crap. Up and down and round and round.

photo: Jenny Brown on flickr

It was enough to make me perpetually dizzy and nauseous.

Until I remembered why I started writing in the first place.

My foray into fan fiction began not long after I started A Course in Miracles. The Course, for those of you who don’t know, is a book about forgiveness and spiritual transformation. It was written by Helen Cohn Schucman, though she was channeling an inner voice she identified as Jesus.

My exposure to the Course deepened my spiritual practice and my commitment to the Divine. It also, as it turned out, deepened my commitment to creativity. Though I wasn’t taking dictation from Jesus, as Helen Schucman did, I knew my writing was divinely guided and inspired.

I knew this every moment I spent putting words on a page. The problem came with the aftermath. Once the words were out there, my mind would get hold of them and scoot off to roller coaster land.

I logged a lot of hours on that roller coaster before I was willing to try something different. But, thank God, that day finally came.

It came when I realized my work wasn’t mine.

Writing, at its best, is like taking dictation. The words form themselves in my mind and I write them down. Where do they come from? I have no idea.

Ultimately, they come from Spirit, but where is that, exactly? I don’t know and I don’t need to.

photo: Paul Bica on flickr

All I know is that being an artist means surrendering myself to the Power and Presence that’s greater than I am.

All of us have this capacity. Each and every one of us.

Remember how I told you you’re an artist?

That’s why. Because you’re an emanation of this Power. And once you really get this, once you allow this Presence to guide your life, things start to get really, really cool.

When you understand that your life isn’t yours, that it belongs to the Divine, then declaring your work crap is insane. Who are you to judge the Divine?

It also doesn’t make sense to get a swelled head, because you’re not better than anyone else either. You are simply – perfectly – a unique expression of the One.

photo: Kalexander2010 on flickr

And as a unique expression of the One, your only job is to listen. And write. Or sing. Or organize. Or clean your house. Or help a friend. Or whatever it is you’re called to do.

It’s that simple.

The only thing you need to remember is that Spirit’s in charge.

That’s it.

photo: Jesslee Cuizon on flickr

Yes, I still hop back on that roller coaster every once and while. But I don’t stay on very long. Nausea isn’t my thing.

But Spirit is. Spirit, and the amazing ride that happens when I let this Presence direct my life.

I’ll buy a ticket for that ride any day.

photo: Upsilon Andromedae on flickr

What’s your artistry? How do you let the Divine lead?

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9 Responses to Want to Be an Artist? Here’s the One Thing You Need to Know.

  1. Steve January 1, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    It has been really fun, and heart warming to just wander around this New Year’s Day, doing whatever I see to do and considering the idea that everything I see, everything I do, even everything I think is an expression of Spirit. Kinda takes the heaviness out of it all. Sometimes enlightenment is nothing more than lightening up, Thanks.

    • Z Egloff January 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

      Hi Steve,

      Sounds like my kind of day! Enlightenment really is simple, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by! :)

      XOZ

  2. Jo Lauer January 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    I love this blog entry. When I saw the picture at the beginning, I thought, “Oh, no. Z’s going to tell us that to be an artist you have to have a hat like that.” So glad that wasn’t the point. God is in charge is the point. I’m never sure who or what I’m channeling when I write or compose, but the process is sheer spirit flowing through me. I am but a hollow reed. Well, a hollow reed that thinks she has to edit from time to time.

    • Z Egloff January 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Hi Jo,

      Well, the hat doesn’t hurt! 😉

      I like to think of editing as Divine Discernment. Not quite the same as that pure flow of channelled “stuff,” but part of the process nonetheless. Especially if you have a really nifty hat to wear while you’re editing. Or writing. Or simply being Divine.

      Happy New Year!

      XOZ

  3. Wy January 7, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Hi Z!
    Dave and his submarine kept coming to mind while I was reading this. It’s funny how the inspiration just flows through him and “viola!” out pops a submarine. Okay, well not quite yet, and not quite that easy. It’s also funny to observe how things and people fall into place or just show up when he stays open to the Divine. It’s pretty cool to watch.

    XOWY

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Hi Wy!

      I love how the Divine manifests in so many different ways – including inspired submarines! So fun.

      It’s also fun to watch the process in someone else, as it can be easier to see those wonderful “coincidences,” and how things come together in ways that defy explanation. :)

      XOZ

  4. Kayla January 8, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Hey Z,

    Just read this post and the comments that follow it. I love “divine discernment”. And, you’ve reminded me to listen more. Been writing songs and monologs, but now it looks as if I need to get more involved in marketing my kids’ book. Marketing. ew. But, I see that I can let that be divinely inspired as well. That is probably the only way I’ll survive it!!!

    By the way, I LOVE all your posts! just sayin’…:-)

    XOK-la

    • Z Egloff January 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Hi Kayla!

      This post was actually inspired by a conversation with Julie! I walked away with a great haircut and a new blog post. 😉

      Marketing is something that I’ve struggled with in the past. But you’re right, it can totally be part of the Divine flow!

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog! :)

      XOZ

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