Monday afternoon I came down to Prairie Pond Woods for a three day writing sabbatical, which turned into a two day writing sabbatical after a bit of a relational hiccup on Tuesday. It is not uncommon for something strange to take place every time I come here with some sort of agenda in mind like writing; the power goes out, the water stops running, I get two-hours of sleep the first night, due to some ominous thump I hear just as I crawl into bed. Even my husband comments on how uncanny it is, since he is the recipient of all my lamentations over the phone.
It is hard enough to overcome the fear and resistance of just sitting down to write, let alone having all your timing thrown off, your mood altered or your energy zapped. So, as I thought about why this happens so often, an idea came to the forefront of my musings. Perhaps my expectations needed edited out altogether; that "list" I think will be so helpful...when I will get up, take a walk, start to write, eat my meals, etc. I ACTUALLY write this stuff down, and I'm beginning to see it is this AGENDA that does me in. It doesn't allow me to roll with the punches, go with the flow, or any other metaphor that means to adjust my perspective and expectations when unexpected situations arise, or to simply let freedom reign.
Now, agendas are fine when I am running my household, conducting a meeting or planning an event, but for creative work, the ever present list just might have to go. So this morning, I took the rare opportunity to just lay in bed. I turned over at least twice after waking up at 7:00 am and went back to sleep. When I rose, I decided I would do whatever I felt like doing, whenever I felt like doing it, and see what happens.
I wrote in my journal. I read from a book about writing called The War of Art. I watched a thunderstorm while sitting outside. I opened a bottle of champagne at noon (just couldn't do it before then), as a way of celebrating the creative act I was about to begin. And then I began...the hardest part of writing.
Not only had this idea to approach my sabbatical with more freedom given me the courage to start, but two passages I read earlier that the morning also motivated me. They are some of the most authentic and effective bits of wisdom I have ever read about the creative process...at least for the novice stage I am in.
"Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, a desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), "Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?" chances are you are."I have asked that question more than once to myself, my husband and friends. It is, in part, a doubt held over from college days when one of my professors told me a drawing I had done was "corny." Corny? That's about the worst thing anyone could have said to me. Tell me it was poorly drawn, like a monkey with pastels. Tell me I used all the wrong colors and it was hideous to look at. But don't tell me what came out of the depths of my creative soul was banal, overly sentimental, inane, or stupid. I was crushed, and just about everything I've put out into the world since came with a dose of fear that I am, at my very core, a corny creative. But the dosages are getting smaller. And the next page in the book encouraged me even more to plant my derrière and begin.
"The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death."
"Are you paralyzed with fear? That's a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do."
"Remember the rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear: the degree of fear equates the the strength of resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that the enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there would be no resistance."I'm trusting that.
So, today I re-read, edited, rearranged passages, and talked out loud to myself about the story line. Tomorrow I will try to write at least 1500 more words or five pages...no, wait...tomorrow...I'll write however many pages I want. It helps to have an attitude, also.
|College Days. Corny? Nah! Just attitude.|