Over the next couple of months, StyleBlueprint will highlight a few strategies on reconnecting with yourself, your family … your life. Today’s inspiration comes directly from Amy Grant, who shares with us some strategies for discovering, or rediscovering, your inner creative voice. We hope this series of articles inspires you!
“There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.”
Over the years, I’ve met many people who have taken on the challenge of finding the artistic, creative, unique individual inside themselves and have come into their own through listening to that inner creative voice, allowing it to rise and giving it life. It’s not easy to tap into who we are, but it’s certainly worth it.
I have two dear friends, Tricia Rose Burt and Leslie Satcher, who have taken on the challenge through the art of speaking, writing and storytelling. Tricia is a noteworthy poet and storyteller and Leslie is a hit songwriter. Today, both women share parts of their story and how they came into their own through self-discovery. My hope is that you will be inspired by them and take the risk to discover your own creativity.
Leslie, how do you go about writing a song?
I am constantly asked about the creative process, particularly, my process. I start with the inspiration of a sign or a piece of overheard conversation or simply daydreaming. In saying that, I believe we are all observers on some level and that is directly tied to our creative nature. When we “give in” to our childlike side, we get out of our own way. That’s when God can whisper wonderful things to us! I also have an amazing group of family and friends who play many of the characters in my songs. Sometimes, I simply tell their story. I start with the first line and follow my heart.
Tricia, what did you have to let go of to get to where you are today?
I wouldn’t say that I let go of a comfortable place, because I was miserable—I let go of a known place. I knew what was expected of me and what my life was supposed to look like, but I was supremely unhappy. Even so, I was holding on for dear life because I didn’t know I had options. Change really frightened me. At first, all I could see was losses. Once I started to see the gains, letting go of that life was easier than you might think. People often tell me how brave I was to quit a lucrative consulting career and follow an artistic path, and I always tell them bravery had nothing to do with it. For me, it was survival. Sure, I was safe in my known life, but that safety was choking me. Turned out the safest thing for me to do was take a risk. I’m pretty sure if my life had turned out like I thought it was supposed to, I’d be a raging alcoholic in Tampa, FL. God has a much better imagination than I do.
Tricia, what have you learned through the creative process?
The one thing I’ve learned in the past 20 years is that it’s a lot harder to NOT make art than to make it. As Maya Angelou said, “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” Everyone has a story. Everyone wants to express themselves. The trouble is, creativity is messy. It’s not black and white. There’s a lot of gray. Plus, our society tends to focus on product, not the process of art making. They want to see the finished result—the perfect painting, the completed novel—not all the sketches and drafts it took you to get there. But great stories—and great art—come from a place of vulnerability. You have to be willing to take risks, to make mistakes, to be a beginner, to learn new things and maybe not be the smartest person in the room for a while. Not everyone’s up for that, but the rewards are huge. My own personal mantra is “There is no time to be timid.” I’m thinking of printing T-shirts and bumper stickers–I’m not kidding.
Leslie, where do you go or what do you do to step into your creative space?
I like to find a private space to write songs or paint. Sometimes, it’s the sunroom at my home. Sometimes, it’s an office on Music Row in downtown Nashville. I like being off to myself because it keeps me focused on the task at hand. I believe having a comfortable, beautiful, private space helps to facilitate the creative process. When we are away from our normal routine, we free up our minds. We relax. Great things can happen! I love seeing people take the risk of attempting something extraordinary and succeeding! Anyone can write a song; they just don’t know it until they try.
Tricia, how do you tap into that voice inside of you?
The voice inside me resides in the quiet. I have to get really quiet and listen. If I’m lucky, I get pretty clear marching orders, which I ignore at my peril. My challenge is to get out of my head—to stop analyzing my work before I’ve even made anything. Analyzing and creating are two very different processes. So I have an entire routine I go through to get myself in the right place to start writing, and part of that routine is creating an orderly, nurturing space.
Tricia, how do you think being with others helps the creative process?
As a writer and a solo performer, I create alone quite a bit, so I get excited when able to collaborate. I especially love working with others to find their creative side, as that relationship transforms all parties. Every story I’ve ever told is about transformation. It’s a theme I’m extremely passionate about, particularly for women. When together, we all can plant some seeds about what might be possible.
Thank you Amy, Tricia and Leslie!
When we heard this trio is getting together to have a creative weekend at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds on Lake Oconee, GA, in October, purposefully to help individuals unlock their inner, creative voice, we knew we needed to share a bit of that inspiration with our readers. It does not matter how old you are, what your degree is in or what your job is: you have creativity living inside of you.