blogging creativity writing

The value of howling into the wind

May 23, 2010

Image by Whitewolf Productions, via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Right now, writing here feels like ‘howling into the wind’ to use a phrase from Joanna Penn from a recent podcast interview on The Creative Penn. Joanna describes how she felt in the early days of writing her blog – writing away, thinking and constructing but actually being read by so few. You write as if your life depends on it but laugh to yourself at the fact that virtually no one is reading. Joanna talks about what happened from there, how her audience grew and the journey of growing that message and audience into the successful space that it is now.

So what is the value of ‘howling into the wind’? Perhaps hearing your own voice reflected back in the waves of air. Perhaps knowing that just sending out these words and images into the atmosphere might lead to something larger like a future you have dreamed about. Perhaps it is about hoping you can in some way impact positively on others as others have impacted on you.

More than anything it is about ‘doing your art’, moving from being a little frozen to getting out there, just starting, beginning to move.

I recently rediscovered these words from ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I had them typed up and taped them inside an older folder of writing to keep me motivated:

‘So what is the solution? Do as the duckling does. Go ahead, struggle through it. Pick up the pen already and put it to the page and stop whining. Write. Pick up the brush and be mean to yourself for a change, paint. Dancers, put on the loose chemise, tie the ribbons in your hair, at your waist or on your ankles and tell the body to take it from there. Dance. Actress, playwright, poet, musician or any other. Generally, just stop talking. Don’t say one more word unless you’re a singer. Shut yourself in a room with a ceiling or in a clearing under the sky. Do your art. Generally, a thing cannot freeze if it is moving. So move. Keep moving.’

So ‘howling into the wind’ is about running with the wolves and the ‘longing for the wild’ as Estes calls it. It’s about stoking the creative fire with winds that might feel a bit uncomfortable and cold at first. It’s about the strength that might come from tuning into such intuitive sources, making connections and finding that to which we belong.

And through whatever means – writing, photography, a business idea, a new perspective, the shape of a poem – forming something unique that is your voice that others may also tune into, relate to and take something away from. So let’s keep howling.

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9 Comments

  • Reply Joanna Penn May 24, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Hi Terri, thanks so much for the mention, and I also love Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I am listening to “The Creative Fire” at the moment, she has a beautiful voice!
    Howling into the wind eventually becomes some kind of conversation, and it is definitely worth it (if you enjoy the process). 18 months ago I knew very few people in the literary and blogging world – and now, I am part of a wonderful community. It is rewarding and thrilling, plus I love to create and share – so I wish you the same tremendous rewards!
    Thanks again, Joanna

    • Reply terriv May 24, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Thanks so much, Joanna. Listening to and reading about your journey has been so very inspiring – it’s great to see where it can lead. I am absolutely enjoying the process. I have been reading, connecting, drafting and thinking away quietly and it’s great to finally put the pieces together!

  • Reply Cassandra Jade May 24, 2010 at 10:26 am

    As long as there is some point to it.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    • Reply terriv May 24, 2010 at 11:24 am

      So true – thank you 🙂

  • Reply Tony Holmes May 24, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Hi Terri,
    Just a word to say I enjoyed your article “The value of howling into the wind”. As an aspirant blogger, not knowing if a single intelligent (or otherwise) being ever reads my blog, I empathize with the situation of a “howler”. But when I ask myself why do I do it – the answer readily comes back – Because I can!

    • Reply terriv May 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks Tony – your Egyptology work is cool. Yes, we can!

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