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From The Mud

"If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong." ― Masaru Emoto

Gunk. Mire. Ooze. Sludge. Guck. Muck. Sometimes you get stuck in it, in the mud.

That's the way it goes sometimes. You find yourself working on something and you're stuck. You don't know where to go, or you do, but you can't seem to get there.

You've tried to rewrite that paragraph, chapter, poem, line, that sentence over and over and over. Your heart is in it, it's on the page, and still, nothing. Stuck. All those crumpled pieces of paper, all those drafts saved in your computer, and still, it's not what you want it to be.

I was listening to the radio the other day and someone brought up the metaphor of the lotus flower. It grows in water, but its roots are deep in the mud. The beauty of the lotus comes from the mud.

It made me think of the creative process. There is beauty in the mud of the creative process, you just have to find it. There is beauty in your life, even in the experiences that have been painful. And those times you did something you may be ashamed of, well write about that. Incorporate it into a fictional character and see how compelling that character becomes.

As you may or may not know, I just finished a rough, (I mean super rough, even muddy) first draft of my novel. I have been, since I reached the 'end' of the book, going back in and squishing around in the word-muck and revising. I've been stringing certain motifs throughout the narrative. I've been deciding HOW I want to tell the story. Because, if you work with me, you have heard me say, "Story is just the event(s), how you tell that story, what order you tell that story, well that's your plot."

Just the other day I took a 2000 plus word section of my book and sliced it down to a 536-word piece. That's quite a lot of sloshing around in the mud. Get my drift here? What I ended up with pleased me. But, what I started with did not. It freaked me out. I thought it was awful. I was frustrated. Worse, I was worried. I doubted myself. I wondered, what the blank am I doing?

And I kept going. You can't stop. Sure the voices come and they go, but you have to keep going. And when those voices visit, don't invite them to stay! Escort them right out again. I don't care if you do that with a walk or a good talking to, do it. Don't allow those voices to squat in your creative process!

The creative process is messy. It's getting stuck in the mud and knowing that if you slosh around in it enough, really get dirty, you'll root down into your creative process and your lotus will blossom.

You've got this.

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