If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.
You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.
I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.
— Ray Bradbury
For the past 30 days, during the entire month of August 2014 AD, a group of over 1,000 writers & creators all over the world, joined superpowers in a creative attempt to renew our love affair with writing. We challenged ourselves to write first thing in the morning, before starting our day, from 15 minutes to 3 hours for 30 days straight.
We wanted to see what would happen if we put our writing passion FIRST; examine how it would affect our life, and if making of writing (again or for the first time) one our top priorities every single day would increase our creativity and our aliveness levels.
In a deeper sense, the point of this experiment was to explore ourselves. To get to know ourselves. To understand ourselves. To rewrite and retell our stories. To reignite our passion. To change our life from the inside out, day after day. To practice creativity as a modus operandi. To honor our gifts. To prioritize our passion. To evolve from survival to aliveness. To LIVE just as we’ve always wanted: truly, deeply, madly, now.
These are the variables we considered:
– Our level of satisfaction with life. — Did writing make us come alive and feel more optimistic about our life?
– Our mood and disposition through the rest of the day. — Did writing improve our overall mood and help us handle the rest of our tasks with less complaints?
– Our well-being, if it makes us feel better physically. — Did the mental and emotional benefits of honoring our passion also extend to the physical realm — the body we inahbit?
– Our overall productivity. — Did it increase? Did we experience less distractions — less need for mind-less mental snacks — if we nourish your creativity first thing in the morning?
– Our curiosity, perspective, imagination and critical thinking. — Did this practice open new doors in our mind? Did your mind expand in ways you couldn’t foresee or believe possible?
The wonderful, expansive answer to all of the above is, once again — after a second time doing this challenge — a full, sound YES.
Read More about the WHY, HOW & WHO of this creative writing experiment here.
For many people, magical. For others, revolutionary. For some, illuminating and revealing. Whoever has participated in this experiment and in whatever way, form or intensity, has gotten something out of it.
Based on these results, here are 5 proven ways in which writing yourself alive, every damn day, WILL save your life, and touch the lives of everyone who comes in contact with you:
1. It helps you KNOW and DISCOVER YOURSELF. You are a multi-dimensional creature. Writing can provide a dimension you can’t experience through any other medium since it is the most perceivable, clear and effective way to switch from subject / the observer (I) to object / the observed (me), without interrupting the ongoing conversation with yourself. In writing and consequently reading yourself, you often discover aspects of your character, personality and even trauma or hidden memories you didn’t know you had.
2. It holds space for your SELF-REFLECTION. It serves as a mirror and a BS-proof shield. It points out your strengths and weaknesses and helps you become more aware of your incoherence and your brilliancy. It is not an exact mirror because there’s no such thing as exact when it comes to human nature and the issues of the heart. But it is pretty accurate in showing you both, your highs and lows, truths and lies. Transparency with self is both, a humbling and an empowering experience.
3. It can be used as a MEDITATION practice or alongside your other MIND-CLEANSING activities. It helps you detox your mind and cleanse your spirit. It holds space so you can let go of what no longer works for you, release your demons, accumulated heartache, disappointments and loss. It helps you dig through all your chatter, so you can finally reach the truth that often hides at the bottom, in your rawest and most tender territory.
4. It activates and stretches your IMAGINATION. It helps you create a new script for your story. There is a certain freedom you allow yourself on paper (or screen) that you can’t take in the “real” world. Mostly, the freedom of making mistakes.
This freedom — characteristic of our childish soul — is taken away from us as we grow up, by Dream Thieves disguised as seriousness or adulthood, but writing gives it back. It allows our imagination to be crazy enough to dream up a new reality and not afraid to mess it up because see, it’s “just writing…” Smart stardust mind.
5. It prompts you to take CREATIVE ACTION. When you write, you do. You start giving body to your thoughts and imagination, even if this body begins with words. In writing about life, you start creating it. Writing will leave footsteps that your mind will later follow, leading to experiences, habits, lifestyles and finally, a lifetime.
And this is how we grow, evolve and realize that we were meant for more…
But this is not the end of a challenge. It’s the beginning of a renewed love affair with writing, creativity and the whole of life. It’s a proof that YOU CAN what YOU WILL and that you are completely equipped with the creative superpowers to accomplish whatever you set your mind to. It’s a reminder that you are the ultimate creator and decision maker in your life, even under the least ideal circumstances, time or other perceived limitations.
Wherever, whoever and however you are, YOU can always DO SOMETHING and by putting your aliveness first your creative action field will only continue to expand and give you more power over your life.
May we go beyond these 30 days and write every single day of our life. May we remember that we’re not alone, that we are wanted, needed, sought for, somewhere, here, a place where only words could reach. May we believe in ourselves enough to fight for our life, love ourselves enough to accept and pursue our greatness, love the world enough not to cut it short of our gifts, and never take ourselves too seriously to get a good sound laugh at our own madness.
Bookmark WriteYourselfAlive.org for future writing events.
How has this challenge impacted your life, writing and creative muscle? I’d love to know. Drop me a note in the comments or contact me with your feedback.