Yesterday I watched an inspiring TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. In essence, she was talking about the need for artists to conceive of their creative genius as coming from outside themselves, as their daimon (Greek) or genius (Roman). Our inspiration comes from the gods, not from our small selves. When we succeed in creating a powerful work of art, it is because we were a receptive channel for its expression, not that we ourselves are geniuses. As Gilbert puts it, it is not the case that you are a genius, it is that you have a genius.
Recently, I’ve been lamenting the fact that I’m not being especially creative other than when I’m dancing (and trust me, my dance is no performance.) I spend most of my time editing and polishing others’ blog posts for publication, as well as working on business development and social media marketing. I write exceptionally little for the blog, except when I have something to announce or when I respond to a reader’s comment or bug report.
I used to be more more artistic in the traditional sense. In my teens and early twenties, I drew and composed. I wrote a lot in my thirties (Sasstrology is my third astrology blog, and I haven’t only blogged about astrology). And now in my fortieth year, I seem to be more concerned about making a living. Or rather, trying to blend art and commerce, to earn money doing what I feel is my calling (i.e., publishing).
I guess I’m struggling with the concept of publishing as an art. Certainly, I feel I have a vision, an aesthetic, that permeates Sasstrology. I highly value quality writing, accessible astrology, community-building. But is having an “a ha” moment about how to better sell an ebook a creative act? My sleepless nights are more about business ideas, not about how I’m going to poetically describe the tension between Jupiter and Saturn.
Maybe it comes down to passion. If my muse is communicating to me about growing the blog’s traffic or building content partnerships, that’s still the muse talking to me. It’s more about process than content, right?