Courting The Muse, Part 2

What is resistance? It may partly be the reason it has taken me SO LONG to write Part 2 of Courting The Muse. Let me assure you that the main reason is that I have been busy composing music: yes! But here I am, ready to finish this story.

Resistance. You may not have called it by such a name, but if you have ever tried anything creative, I am sure you have experienced it. It is the force field I feel around the door to my studio. The thing that makes the blank page seem even more empty. It is the thing that stops authors from writing that final chapter, composers those final bars.

How do you defeat Resistance?

When I had a day job I had to partake in one of those team building days. At one point we were asked to choose what flower we wanted to be: dandelion, rose, lilly or sunflower. People had their reasons for their choices but I went with the dandelion. It is a weed. It is unstoppable. This is how you combat resistance. By being a weed. You are relentless. You show up. You do the work.

The way that three of my heroes – Elizabeth Gilbert , Steven Pressfield and John Williams – handle resistance is simply by going to work every day. Gilbert says that she sits down at her writing station and waits for the muse to come – her job is done, now she just to listen. Pressfield follows a strict writing routine where he goes to his writing room, says the same prayer, then writes for an assigned time, and then he is done. John Williams composes at least 3 minutes of music every day. He composes, has lunch, composes more then dinner and he always goes for a walk (according to his brother Don Williams).

Do I have a routine like this? Honestly, I haven’t found one that works for me yet and I am not sure I will. I tend to write more and better at night. I do a lot of my emails and follow up work after I wake up because I am pretty slow in the morning.  But I spend time in that studio making music, on every work day. I try and compose and fully produce at least 1 minute of music. I write my goals out at the beginning of the week so I know exactly what needs to be done and what projects are the first priority. I try and keep my studio organized so it is a calming and enjoyable area to be in. I go to work and make sure that it is as fun as possible…..sometimes that just isn’t doable, but I try!

Mark Wahlberg recently did an AMA on Reddit. When asked how to make it in LA he said “Stay in it for the long haul. And take Fountain. :)” Resistance for me is so hard to overcome but the surefire way to combat it is to simply show up and do the work – even if the work is absolutely awful that day. Doesn’t matter. Put notes, or words, or paint on that page. When you show up, your muse will too…..eventually. I wrote an orchestral work exploring the issues of the muse, resistance and relentless survival. You can hear an excerpt of “Artist and The Muse” here.

Happy creating, people.

Catherine News

I am currently working on a number of projects, all of which I am very excited about!

Light in the Himalayas (working title) is a feature-length documentary about a first-time filmmaker, Yaque Silva-Doyle, taking on the extraordinary task of installing solar panels in a remote Himalayas school and filming the process.

A Venetian Dream is a dramatic feature written and directed by Cathy Beasley about a couple becoming surprisingly reacquainted in Venice after a previous traumatic experience.

Exit Plan, written and directed by Anne Lower, is a short about a woman trying to find a way out of an abusive marriage.

The Miracle is a musical written by Holocaust survivor Lucy Deutsch, telling her story of surviving Auschwitz and life in the aftermath.

All Things Hidden has finally made its way through post-production and out into the world. We are having a supporter/cast/crew screening on August 27th. Festival dates will be announced shortly! The soundtrack will be out on sale soon, but you can hear the finale track here.

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