Spontaneity, the hallmark of childhood, is well worth cultivating
to counteract the rigidity that may otherwise set in as we grow older.
~ Gail Sheehy ~
The fun stuff comes when someone is not so strict on sticking to the script.
You’re allowed the spontaneity, and great moments can happen.
~ Jennifer Aniston ~
At a recent writers’ conference, I had an interesting conversation with an editor that echoed a couple of tarot readings I’d done for authors at the conference about the need for spontaneity.
The card that showed up in several readings was the 6 of Cups. While many tarot decks and tarot experts suggest that this card is about nostalgia, in my readings with authors and other creatives, this card frequently speaks about the special qualities of childhood important for creative work—playfulness, enthusiasm, imagination, daydreaming, and spontaneity.
Often, what inspires the beginning of a creative path is a spontaneous desire to play—with words or paint or fiber or dance. You think, “This will be fun!” The feelings of wonder, play, imagination and spontaneity then provide enough fuel to keep you going…for a while. Unfortunately, most of those childlike feelings, especially the feeling of spontaneity, disappear as you become more serious about producing to demand and schedule.
It’s such a contradiction. As the adult, you daydream (like a child) about becoming a published author, or well-known artist, or a popular musician, only to discover that you have to be very responsible (like an adult) about contracts, deadlines, and marketing. Where did that excited, playful child go? Who or what locked her up in a closet? Where is the key?
As I talked with the editor, she wondered how writers kept hold of their spontaneity especially if it was their style to be plotters (that is, plot the entire book out before writing) instead of pantsters (writing the story as it comes to them). It was interesting to hear her voice the concern that in losing spontaneity in the writing of the story, the author might also lose depth and significance (my words).
Wouldn’t you think that depth and significance would be more associated with the serious and thoughtful qualities of an adult, a planner, someone who really knows the rules and techniques of her craft? And yet, what is the source of imagination, playfulness, and spontaneity? It is both a presence in the moment and an intense experience of it.
Look at the child’s face on the card. Whether she is remembering flying a kite with a friend, anticipating flying a kite with her friend soon, or daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to fly a kite if she only had a friend to do it with her, she is deeply in the moment and the imagined experience. The joy of it is clear on her face.
Just as your joy should be on your face as often as possible when you are creating. Yes, there is always work and drudgery and responsibility in being a writer or artist or other creative, but that should be relieved and balanced by spontaneity and play.
Remind yourself to make room for play and spontaneity in your writing or other creative pursuit. Spontaneity can keep your writing and your stories fresh.
Remember to take time from your creative work to do other things that are fun and keep your spontaneity muscle strong.
The Muse loves play and those spontaneous moments of imagination and surprise and discovery.
Spontaneity keeps creativity alive.