The Magic of the Collective Creative

Posted by on Aug 31, 2016 in Writing Retreat | No Comments
Creative Genius on a Writing Retreat

I've been reading a lot about creativity. It fascinates me. What is this thing, this voice, that whispers stories and characters and other worlds to us? Some authors claim they have ghosts whisper untold bits of history to them. Others feel this cannot-be-ignored pressure to write. Others sit down and pour out the hard stuff, whether it be their own past, or stories they've heard.

What's the image you have in your mind right now? Is it a lone writer sitting in the dark, writing by candlelight? Or maybe, it's a writer, sitting by herself in a cafe. Or maybe, it's you, the writer, lounging by an empty pool and sipping coffee or tea or a cocktail, with nothing but the sound of the breeze and the scratch of your pen or the click of your keys. Common denominator? Writing alone.

What if I told you, that some of the best, inspired-by-the-elusive-creative-genius stories, were written or first imagined while NOT alone?

Tapping into the Collective Creative Conscious on a Writing Retreat

Yes, there is such a thing as a collective creative conscious. And no, I'm not talking about co-writing. 

What I AM talking about is writing among other people. Specifically, other writers who 'get' the creative process. Even more specifically, writing with other writers who are ALSO writing. In the same room. Under the same roof or by the same pool or...you get it.

But! (I hear you say) What's the point of writing in a group if we aren't talking / interacting?

Aha! That is where the collective creative conscious comes in.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love, talks about how people used to believe that creativity would visit people in the form of a little genius or daemon. Otherwise known as the writing muse. (And if you haven't read Big Magic, stop reading this and go get it, now!)

It is, not just my belief, but my experience, that that little genius is #1 - real in some form and #2 - can be forced to visit when creatives gather. It's like he feeds on our creative juices and he can't help himself when presented with a huge feast of creativity.

I have witnessed writers sit down in one of our writing retreat sprints and, before we start, say things like, "It takes me forever to write. I'm lucky to get in 200 words in an hour." Twenty minutes later, they look up. They have this dazed look in their eyes, a distant, I'm-not-really-here look. I ask them how many words they've written and their answer is, "I just wrote 700 words. How did I just write 700 words? In twenty minutes? And they are good! Where did this come from?" 

Did you get chills? I have chills just from thinking about it. 

And this isn't a one-time thing. This didn't happen to only one writer. It happened over and over and over again.

Why? The genius has joined the writing retreat.

We have a few spots left on our writing cruise to Belize this October. Our France retreat is starting to fill up. If you are blocked, if your words or your stories or your characters aren't flowing, come with us. Be the food for the creative genius on our retreats. He gives back more than he gets, and you will have words, my lovely friend. Beautiful, amazing, bestselling words.

And if you want to learn some more about the creative genius, take about twenty minutes to watch Elizabeth Gilbert's Ted Talk. You won't regret it!