November 24, 2010

Writing in the Moment

Posted in Flow tagged , , at 9:30 am by Rebecca Hein

The best technique I’ve found for achieving focus and flow in both music and writing is to ignore all previous ideas, right down to yesterday’s great discovery. Why does this work? Because creativity is in the moment, which means full immersion in your present efforts, whether it be a warm-up or an all-out struggle to finish your novel.

November 17, 2010

All Practicing Moves You Forward

Posted in Practice Writing tagged at 6:57 pm by Rebecca Hein

Practice is never a waste of time, though you may feel differently on bad days. I’ve logged my share of “wasted” cello and writing sessions, but all it takes is one glorious episode to set my attitude straight.

Recently I was practicing the cello and became lost in my tone. The sound I was creating became a large round space filled with vibration. I was at the center, and so absorbed that I retained no consciousness of moving either bow or fingers. Even when I drifted away from the core of this sensation, I was instantly pulled back. The glory of music was stronger than any other force.

Afterwards I realized that without sustained, persistent effort in the form of daily practice over a period of years, I’d never have stumbled into that fortunate moment. That was when I looked back over my long record of better and worse practice sessions and knew that the bad as well as the good had all been accumulating towards my latest jump.

November 10, 2010

Slow and Quiet

Posted in Creativity, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 11:51 am by Rebecca Hein

In his classic, How Children Fail, John Holt recounts an episode where he loses the ability to think during a stressful moment in his flute lesson. He’d been hurrying all day, drove to his lesson in heavy traffic, and arrived flurried and out of breath. His teacher was also having a bad day and, according to Holt, was not his usual patient self.

It all added up to the moment when the page of music “lost all meaning.” For a few seconds Holt’s brain could not process familiar information.

This is what modern life is doing to us. We must refuse. Hurry and overstimulation are especially dangerous to our creativity, and it’s up to each of us to find ways to slow down and become quiet inside.

November 3, 2010

Internal Harmony

Posted in Creativity, Harmony tagged , , , at 9:30 am by Rebecca Hein

Making peace with myself influences my writing in profound ways. For example, several years ago I jumped forward in my ability to create metaphors and vivid images.

How? By terminating a relationship with an editor. Working with her was the best-paid and easiest gig I’d landed so far, and I needed the money.

But she squelched my voice and worse, replaced some of my key ideas with phrases of her own that actually misrepresented my values. I could live with heavy-handed editing but not with words I would never write, published under my byline.

When I saw that I couldn’t tolerate the situation, I quit. Within hours I could feel the wellspring of language, vivid and sparkling, bubbling up in me again.