Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Writing & Life Advice: Anne Lamott on Making Time

Finding time to be creative, to give yourself over to whatever feeds your soul, means making time. And according to Anne Lamott, that means giving up something that you may feel is a necessary part of your multi-tasking life.

"I sometimes teach classes on writing, during which I tell my students every single thing I know about the craft and habit. This takes approximately 45 minutes. I begin with my core belief—and the foundation of almost all wisdom traditions—that there is nothing you can buy, achieve, own, or rent that can fill up that hunger inside for a sense of fulfillment and wonder. But the good news is that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.

"Then I bring up the bad news: You have to make time to do this.

"This means you have to grasp that your manic forms of connectivity—cell phone, email, text, Twitter—steal most chances of lasting connection or amazement. That multitasking can argue a wasted life. That a close friendship is worth more than material success.

"Needless to say, this is very distressing for my writing students."

Blogs are good for creating that space, and reminding you to tend to your creative side. When it is ignored and outdated, a blog eyes you with the forlorn look of a neglected puppy, eyes deep pools of hurt and confusion. Blogs keep you coming back, to find community, to feel you're sharing a bit of you with the world, and to keep up the hits (and we allll crave the hits, stats are how you know you're not just shouting into deep space).

My friend Paul has created a blog for just that sort of creative accountability. Get a hit of inspiration from him at Pablo's Doodles.

Anne writes,
"I often remember the story from India of a beggar who sat outside a temple, begging for just enough every day to keep body and soul alive, until the temple elders convinced him to move across the street and sit under a tree. Years of begging and bare subsistence followed until he died. The temple elders decided to bury him beneath his cherished tree, where, after shoveling away a couple of feet of earth, they found a stash of gold coins that he had unknowingly sat on, all those hand-to-mouth years.

You already have the gold coins beneath you, of presence, creativity, intimacy, time for wonder, and nature, and life. Oh, yeah, you say? And where would those rascally coins be?"

Read the rest of Anne's advice on how to find time here.

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