Gather 12 Disciples to Create

by Ron Seybold

Creativity requires faith, and sticking to your creative faith is easier with exemplary practices to follow. I started my boyhood as a Catholic, a place where there’s plenty of following. We learned faith by studying the lives of the disciples. The root of disciple means to show a devotion. 

Here are my creative disciples, with a tip of my hat to psychologist Eric Maisel, who first introduced the idea. I studied with Maisel to earn creative coaching skills. Those practices are useful in my work coaching authors. Coaching helps us all keep working.

Simplicity: Focusing on the immediate action at hand. Breaking the mission into the smallest parts, and doing them one at a time. Because writing a paragraph is not complex when done one sentence at a time. Because creating an outline card is not hard if you only do one at a time.

Regularity: To make the act of creating as essential as waking from sleep each morning. To consider creating a part of the day that can no more be skipped than the sunrise. To know just as you can’t leave the house without clothes, you can’t leave without creating something — maybe not in full, but a scene or a passage.

Solemnity: To light a candle, close the door, silence the phone — to feel as it you’re entering a church of a faith that propels you. To know and believe, in your soul, that what you’re about to do in creation is important, because it delivers meaning. To feel like minister delivering a sermon, or a pastor giving a benediction before an important event.

Honesty: To be aware that you’re an imperfect creation and that only change and time will deliver your desires for your work. And to carry that awareness to your creations full of their wabi sabi flaws that make them yours alone. To be honest about your energy and your desire, knowing when it has flagged after good creative work.

Self-Direction: To believe that you can master the course that you set out to complete the creations. Know that it may not be the eventual course — but any movement you make toward the light of your completed creation is an act of the self.

Intensity: To sit and write just a little longer, going beyond where you are afraid. To allow nothing to break your dream state of conjuring. Practice your characterization reading aloud, to see yourself as that person in the story.

Presence: To be utterly in only one place, to unreeling your spool of line into the water of creation, then studying the line while waiting for that fish of an idea to bite.

Ceremony: To embrace the act of creating with little talismans and icons and regular friends of habits. I always light this candle. I always play this music. I always bring a glass of water in with me. I always read the last thing I wrote, aloud, before I make my next passage.

Joy: To love a life with less certainty than others because yours  holds unexpected pleasures. To revel in the persona that you create for yourself as an artist, a creator seeking meaning.  To smile when you think of getting away with doing this as your life’s mission, playing as your work.

Self-trust: To make the doubtful moments a regular part of the life of creativity, and believe in their ability to make the work a thing I will craft to my intention. To trust in the future because no one knows what it will become, and so the confidence will carry me through times that look bleak or blurry.

Primacy: To make your life about creating, the thing that keeps us alive, the most vital and essential element of the human who is me. Everything is in my life like a handhold along a staircase or tread on tires — to deliver me to the moments and hours and days of creativity.

Finally, there is Discipline: To love what you do, because discipline is getting what you want. To believe I am a disciple of my affection and devotion to my craft. To work with focus to make my mastery hours meaningful, not just ticks of the clock of life. To return to my creativity on a schedule and respect deadlines.

Ron Seybold, a WLT Community Member, is director of Austin’s Writers Workshop, where authors build better books through coaching and edits across a full spectrum. workshopwriter.com

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