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Into the Light

A song worth writing … even if nobody ever hears it but you.

At long last, it’s a new year. 2020 is finally in the rear-view mirror.

It goes without saying that it was a challenging year for creativity, especially if you’re the kind of person who performs or shares their music with other humans in order to connect with them.

Okay, things might not have changed all that dramatically on January 1st — Cinderella’s pumpkin didn’t automatically turn back into a carriage. But at least we’re psychologically on the other side.

So why is it still so hard to resume making art?

There are certainly songs to be written about all the chaos that accompanied 2020 and lights at ends of tunnels. That said, you may intuit that people are tired of hearing about that — they’re ready to be uplifted. But it may be that’s exactly the feeling we need to confront before we can move forward into the light.

Such a song could serve to emotionally punctuate the moment and clear the way for new material. That’s why, in my opinion, it’s a song worth writing … even if nobody ever hears it but you. You count. And not all art is meant to be shared, anyway. Think of it as journaling. You keep going so that you can turn the page.

If you’re eager to jump back into the game, you may be wondering how to get re-inspired. It’s pretty challenging to collaborate these days since we’re still at a distance, so we may have to be our own catalyst.

In his article “Find Five Minutes—It Doesn’t Take That Long!”, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy posits that inspiration isn’t everything. In fact, it’s “rarely the first step. When it does come out of the blue, it’s glorious. But it’s much more in your own hands than the divine‐intervention‐type beliefs we all tend to have about inspiration. Most of the time, inspiration has to be invited. … Pick up a guitar, and you’re much more likely to write a song.”

“Setting aside time to spend in the creative state — especially when I see how much time people spend on their phones — is something you can do every day,” Tweedy continues. “Knowing how to write a song isn’t going to help you much if you never find the inspiration or discipline to get started.”

There’s no specific exercise or process required to get started. In fact, it’s more about making a move. Surrendering to the cosmos. Being vulnerable and letting go. Believing that once we do get started, we’ll feel that familiar momentum.

What is it you’ve done in the past to fall into that zone? Can you go back there? What time of day was it? Were you home alone? Were you out walking or driving? Did listening to your favorite song make you feel emotionally connected and ready to create again?

My personal favorite part of creating a song (or a blog, or any piece of writing, for that matter) is when I’m almost done. When all I need is one more line or one more rhyme to feel I’ve come full circle. But you can’t get there unless you start somewhere.

Did you get gifted a new instrument from Santa last month? A journal with empty pages yearning to be filled? If so, perhaps you need to give the universe a sign that you’re ready.

It is a new year. We are standing in that light. I wish you all health and connection and I hope the universe RSVPs when you send it your invitation.


Check out Shelly’s other postings.

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