Julie Flanders is a master lyrical shape-shifter. Over the years, her award-winning songwriting skills (honed since her teens) have morphed into related manifestations as a bestselling poet and her use of neuro-linguistic programming in her hypnosis/ coaching practice. We thought Flanders was an ideal person to rev up our Ideablog’s “Discoveries” theme because her varied portfolio of career successes is a case study of what great things can happen when one never gives up on discovering—especially the untapped potential within oneself. As she writes here, she didn’t set out to write a book of poetry, but as a lifelong collaborative creator, she wanted to reconnect her own independent spark which eventually coalesced into her poetry collection Joyride. And she continues to explore new musical forms with her band, “The October Project” which has released (in their namesake month!) their latest album, “The Book of Rounds: 21 Songs of Grace,” resplendent with their signature: mesmerizingly moody layered harmonies. We predict these will cast as powerful a hypnotic spell on you as they have upon our office. As October always heralds the seasonal shift towards the colder, contemplative months of the year, we wish you the thrill of unexpected discoveries.
~Victoria C. Rowan, Ideasmyth Creatrix-in-Chief
“You have to write to write. Right? So just write. ” – Mr. Sepede, my writing teacher from High School
When I began the poems that became JOYRIDE, I had NO TIME ever to write. I was working full-time in two careers (music & hypnosis), studying full-time (neurolinguistics and brain-based leadership) and raising an extraordinary young child who didn’t like to be separated from his parents. Ever.
(You should meet him now! I have to stalk him to get him to return a text or phone call and he happily goes for weeks in his own life before realizing – hey, I have parents! I am very happy for him, but sometimes miss the little three-year-old who “needed me too much”.)
After a few years of such a hectic pace and its demands, I realized I was no longer writing or creating “for its own sake” on any regular basis. All of my work was on or for a deadline and the “DEAD” in the line was palpable.
I desperately needed something to jumpstart me back into a life-force connection with The Muse. Something that would not be goal-oriented or productive, but simply and purely a devotional practice of creativity.
For me, that jumpstart was poetry. After all, what practical purpose can poetry possibly serve?
Each day, I got up a little earlier than I wanted to (and I am NOT a morning person, please believe me and know that I HAD to be desperate to even consider such an early alarm clock). Every morning I did Julia Cameron’s three-page Morning Practice, then read a poem by someone else, then “wrote a poem of my own.”
To structure my practice, I would choose TWO WORDS – randomly – as a kind of frame for the poem. I did not worry about whether the poem was good or bad, doggerel or Donne. I simply wrote, being sure to incorporate the “two words” somewhere in the text. I kept my hand moving and flowed through and around obstacles of thought and judgement. If my judgements were fierce enough I made those “monkey thoughts” into the poem. Usually that quieted the situation. I don’t think Monkey Thoughts like to be written out.
After a few years of this practice I had thousands of scribbles from which to shape a book. PLEASE KNOW I did not do this practice perfectly. I missed many days and even (sometimes) many months. BUT I now had a practice to Return To – something to Hold Me and to help me nourish my spirit enough to create again.
PERFECT was not the point.
For the next six days, I will be sharing some of my work with you, and I hope you will take it as an inspiration for your own creative process.
Artists are meant to be kindred and to spark, support and appreciate one another. The courage of your own creative process really matters. Whether you choose to share your work publicly or simply to experience the process of “learning and knowing” yourself privately and intimately as a meditation, please know that I salute you and your courage.
The real JOYRIDE is your life. Do not let the “deadlines” draw you away from yourself – fight back. Write, draw, paint, dance, sing, laugh. Be defiantly alive.
See more of Julie Flanders’ Featured Creative posts on our Ideablog
~~~#1 Bestselling Amazon author, Julie Flanders is known for her passionate and haunting texts.
With deceptively simple words, she guides readers through the mysteries of the familiar to a deeper understanding of life and love, death and loss, miracles of perception, and the magic of the ordinary.
An award-winning songwriter, Flanders is the lyricist for the band, October Project, which she co-founded with composer Emil Adler, and which is still celebrated for its two groundbreaking albums recorded for Epic Records that together have sold over 1/2 million copies worldwide. October Project is set to release its newest studio album, The Ghost of Childhood, in 2016.
Flanders’ songs with many artists have been widely featured on television and in film. She is considered an innovator in both the creation and marketing of independent music. Her newest work, The Book of Rounds: 21 Songs of Grace, an original cycle of musical rounds, is being released by Sounds True Records in September of 2015.
Flanders is also an acclaimed Achievement Expert and Master Success Coach, mentoring creative leaders and innovators and forward-thinkers in business, design and the arts. Her client list includes business visionaries, Academy Award winners, New York Times best-selling authors, and social influencers who are shaping the future now.