Creative Expression…And Being Dumbfounded

Jupiter postcardMost creative people have experiences that feeling when the material seems to come through you, rather than from you. When I get in a storytelling mode I can sit and type all day,  having no idea what I’m doing, I just do it.

I have no outline.
I have no agenda other than it’s occurred to me to tell some story.
I don’t have a reason to tell the story and don’t feel I need one.
The impulse is there and I obey it.

I don’t tell the stories to make a point. I just tell stories. Consequently, I produce things I don’t necessarily understand.

I don’t think this is a usual way to work but I don’t know. In my imagination, other writers know what they’re doing. This is my assumption.  I think writing is  a craft or a skill that a person has honed.  This is what people say about writing anyway, but it’s not what I do.  I write on crazy faith and adrenaline. I don’t understand my own material beyond the fact it’s a story and the story is true.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even try. This is because I am a storyteller, not a story-understander, I guess.  The stories come through me but the understanding of the stories does not.

To complicate things, last week some information found it’s way into my hands. It’s by far, the biggest thing I have ever stumbled on in my entire life. It’s a story to beat all stories and of course, I don’t understand it.

I also can’t tell it because I don’t have that impulse.  The story is not willing or ready to come through me yet so I just have to sit here I guess.

If you’re a writer or other creative person, do you recognize this? How does your process compare?

22 thoughts on “Creative Expression…And Being Dumbfounded”

  1. I had a story fall into my lap too. And I’m writing the hell out of it. I don’t know what will become of it or what it means. I am trying to be organized about it by writing character sketches etc, because the details of the people are key to the intricate story itself. But, I know if I were to try to tell what this story implies to anyone other than the way it was given to me to deliver then I’ll be brushed off as a loon. When it came to me it was from nowhere. And it was almost as if a million things suddenly made sense and I was like..well, nobody is going to believe this!

    The thing is, I don’t know that there is a point to it. I don’t know that there is a lesson to be’s more of a veil dropping sort of thing. I have no idea where it is coming from because my brain doesn’t operate the way this story is unfolding..for sure.

  2. I can completely understand!! When I am stressed or feeling other peoples’ emotions very strongly, something just hits me like a brick wall, and I have to write. I mean right then and there, not sitting down to do it and thinking about it, just doing it with a pen and paper that is handy at the moment and letting it flow. I have created some pretty interesting poems and short stories!

  3. I am a practicing artist. I am a painter and metalsmith. What your talking about is called “flow” or being in “the zone” This is when creative people, in the act of creating literally, do not know where they end and the work begins. For me it is a rich and blissful feeling. When I am in that place, I find I lose track of time and I cannot make a mistake. I think it’s pretty much what all artists live for. It’s really rewarding.

  4. Great post Elsa. I feel the same about creative visions that manifest into either films or paintings. It’s strange..I don’t really know how to explain what I’m doing either or what it is, it’s like I’m a channel for something bigger than myself. There is no better feeling than that feeling of giving that final push and seeing your creation come to life.

    When things get to formulaic, it becomes more commercial than art I suppose.

  5. ***In my imagination, other writers know what they’re doing. This is my assumption. I think writing is a craft or a skill that a person has honed. This is what people say about writing anyway, but it’s not what I do. I write on crazy faith and adrenaline.***

    I think most writers who are really very good write more in the way that you do. The craft and skill and honing comes in the editing process, and that does take some skill, practice, and learning, but, in general, the story is something that pours through. I do think that practice-makes-perfect even for writing. Reading with a critical eye will inform the part of you that receives story, so that when it pours out of you, the lessons you’ve taken from critically reading, or from past writing successes and failures, are automatically taken into account with the story, and what comes out is better than what you might have otherwise told.

    Basically, I think most symbols in writing are put there accidentally by the author’s subconscious, but that doesn’t take away from their meaning. And I think that most writers who have a great deal of emotion and passion in their stories are ones who write like you. The more sober writers are often planners, but they don’t make a reader fly the way that that emotional writers do, imo.

  6. You are one of the most consistent, gifted storytellers I have ever encountered. Period.

    Yes, I recognize the process you are describing and creatively that’s when I produce my best ‘work’, too in whatever medium.

    But-I don’t have it “on tap” as much and am not disciplined/driven to the discipline necessary to carry me over into that realm/category of “this is my life-work”. Not at this time anyway. 🙂

  7. Yes. Yes. I know exactly what you mean. Often it’s when I am doing something mundane and suddenly I get scenes or flashes of images that are complete with dialogue but not the whole story. It’s so annoying. (Because I want the whole story instead of just a snippet, I get lazy about writing it down.) Hearing you share your process is once again, ANOTHER reminder from the Universe that I should be writing my ideas down. 🙂

  8. My creative process is too difficult to describe. The joke is that I am in art school and I am required to talk about my process, over and over and over and over and over. It’s like torture. I will be glad to finish.
    With drawing, I like to surround myself with my materials, put on some tunes and..draw. There is, of course, the emotional/psychological aspect but I don’t like to share it. Chiron/Merc in 5th. I’d rather draw than talk about drawing.

  9. Also, I absolutely feel that my art, is me. That it comes from me. I guess this is how I’m different than a lot of people here.

  10. I generally know what I’m writing means at least to me, and possibly what it will mean to others, within a certain range.

    When I start doing some graphic art, though, well, I never am sure what is going to come out, although when it comes out, I generally understand in hindsight why it DID come out that way and what the work sorta encapsulates.

    I think art is really about playing with archetypes, and sometimes your focus is so narrow when you are doing it you can’t see where you are going because to see that would mean you see the whole archetype at a glance.

  11. I totally relate. I used to write poetry and it just came through me. I never edited or crafted it. It just flowed out. Libra in Jupiter. I also used to play keyboards by ear. Melodies would just come through my fingers as I played, then an overlay melody for the song itself and then words. But sometimes I would just get words first. I never knew when inspiration would strike and I never understoon where it came from. Since Saturn has been in Libra…a lot of my creativity has slowed down.

  12. I am like this, but in an analytical rather than a creative mode. I can sit and think and write the shit out of a given subject, looking at it 10 ways from Sunday. Often the ideas fly so fast I’m just scrambling to keep up. And some of them appear incoherent at first — just a spark of thought — and have to be fully worked out later. Bc for what I do, it does ultimately have to hold water as a logical argument.
    Huh. Never realized how much critical thinking was actually a creative process!

  13. Absolutely understood and concur!
    Love your every post – sometimes I feel like you are “strumming my life with your words”. . . . . . . . we were long lost twins at birth.

  14. my painting and writing both feel that way. if i plan it too much, it kills the soul in the art.
    for me, anyway. i really just feel like a vessel for the universe to express itself through.

  15. It seems like sitting down and doing it without overthinking it is as good a way as any. I have been trying to “figure out” a novel for two years. It has this great opening paragraph that I worked and reworked, and it’s becoming clear to me that it has to go. The story starts someplace else. You have to be willing to eff it up the first time and get it right later. Here at the end of another merely somewhat productive creative year, I’ve been thinking about the “Death” Tarot card and the notion of living each day as if it were your last. Probably like a lot of creative people, I have to live in the real world, where I’m often adrift in controversy and worry. But if this is my last day on earth, am I letting it bother me? Not at all. At that point, I’m ready to write and let it all hang out. I try to live in the fire trine part of my chart, Mars in Sadge in the fourth applying to Jupiter in Leo in the 12th. How to get there and just stay there? I haven’t figured it out.

  16. I wish I did write more like you, Elsa! Your stories have such a wonderful freshness, and directness. It’s writing of a fine order.

    I can write well to a deadline, and when I start writing I often surprise myself… but…

    But I find it very difficult to sit down and write creatively – due my character (all that Cap, and Virgo) and largely too, due my training (degree in English Lang & Lit) I’m very perfectionist, and I don’t see any point in doing it if I can’t write something to compare with the Greats of Literature! So I feel paralysed… when I should just get in there and start writing.

    I have fire trines in Earth – Sun/Venus with Asc and MC. My chart is very Earth-laden… it’s hard for me to take wing, even with all my undeniable grasp of the language

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