Trailblazing.

Awesome.  I haven't blogged for 3 weeks.  Yup.  Apparently I'm on the 3 weeks on-3 weeks off plan.  Kind of like exercise.  Ah well.  Life is always a learning experience, at least for me.  

It seems I've been dealing with resistance with a capital R.  No, I didn't make this up, I borrowed it from Steven Pressfield.  Not working on my book, not blogging.  Not doing much of anything in the writing world except for writing my morning pages.  

Last night I kind of had a mini-break down.  I'm blaming it on the heat, since it has been very warm here in Portland and I was out in the sun all day.  I don't know what it was.  I found myself wallowing in the sea of uncertainty.  What am I doing?  Why am I here?  Am I a loser?  All these ridiculous things.  The back of my neck was sore and I was convinced it was a brain tumor and that it was as I suspected, I am just waiting to die.  All kinds of craziness.  

So, I put myself to bed.  I had to put myself to bed the other night too, after getting home from a great time with my brother in Oakland, CA.  I slept too little the night before my flight and was SUPER grumpy with everyone.  Seems to be the case a lot lately.

Julia Cameron says we start acting out when we aren't creating.  Boy is she right.  That's the problem.  No external writing.  I've been doing a lot of other things though.  I have been on a cleaning rampage.  Now, I am renting a room from a family friend, so I live in about a 12x12 space. It's amazing how much stuff can still accumulate even living so small.  I went back through everything, and I mean everything (clothes, papers, books, etc.) and got everything cleaned and organized.  I'm moving my stuff I've had in storage in my brother's garage to its' own storage unit and getting everything super-tidy.  For what, I'm not sure.  But, maybe this will help me feel lighter.  I've been feeling a little bogged down lately. 

And so I came across a note from my mom while organizing.  The front of the card says this "Do not follow where the path may lead - go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." The inside of the card was handwritten with a lot of advice but she also said this "...a sedentary life will never suit you.  Get rid of the things that limit you - pretty soon you will fly, you are at the edge surveying everything."


Such timely words, even from beyond the grave.  She always had a knack for doing that, timely words of encouragement on notes were her thing.  So maybe this getting rid of things and getting things organized is so I can prepare for flight.  Or something.  I don't know what.  But what it did do is remind me that I'm not crazy.  That sometimes when you make a trail it's messy and dirty, sweaty work because you have to cut down a lot of brush.  And sometimes you don't always see the way clear, but if you keep moving forward, then you don't get stuck and eventually you will break free.  It also shows others there is another different way to go.

See, there.  I feel better already having posted this, EVEN IF NO ONE READS IT.  That's what happens when you do what you are supposed to be doing in this life.  You do the work, and are not responsible for the outcome. You don't do it for success, for fame, even for a paycheck. You do it in service, and because you have to.  And, you get more crazy the longer you don't do it. I learned that from Julia Cameron and Steven Pressfield.  And for me, primarily, I know that work is writing.  I have to share my stories with the world because there is no one who has my voice.  Sometimes it's hard and difficult because I'm cutting a trail for myself that has never existed before.  And it's definitely much easier to follow a well-defined trail. But I just can't.  And so I won't.    


Quit Resisting This Shit.

I did it.  Finally.  It's been almost a month since I have written any words for my book.  Either of them.  Unacceptable.  So, after doing morning pages and working through another week of "Walking In This World", by Julia Cameron, I got out my pen and paper and wrote 600 words in 15 minutes.  For some reason, that timer thing really works for me.  And it keeps the creative juices flowing, keeps me connected with my story.  Steven Pressfield, best-selling author, calls putting off the work Resistance.  Here's a sweet little video that explains what I mean.  

 

Last week was not a good creative week for me.  I only did morning pages four days out of seven, was running here and there and just a little off kilter.  I started working on the sales floor at my job, and so I always get a little constricted when starting new things, so there was that.  Some early mornings, not sleeping well, etc.

I decided to devote this morning to creative work.  First I had to clean my room!  It's amazing how utterly messy a 10x12 space can get, but it happens.  I cannot create in an untidy space.  I took care of a few things I had been putting off, such as paying car insurance.  Probably not a good idea if I'm going to drive for Lyft. 

Lyft!  Yes, it launched in Portland on Friday, April 24th.  I have yet to give my first ride, as I have been a little resistant and nervous because that too is new.  So many new things!  Sometimes I get tired of being in beginner's mind and embracing the suck.  But, there is always growth in learning, and I think that is always valuable.  

I feel so much better having gotten some words on the page.  Some may view creativity as a luxury, but for me, it is a necessity or my soul will wither up and die.  It has to be my first priority.  So, that means if I work at 9am, I need to be up at 6am so I can get my morning pages in and get some words written towards my book.  It's just that simple, but sometimes I make it oh so hard.  

I am heading off for work at 1pm.  I am hopeful I only have a 4-hour shift to pull so I can get to open mic tonight.  No, I am not just hopeful.  I trust that I will be out of there at 5:30 pm so I can attend.  I am manifesting that shit right now.  We have these fun little things at work called "flex shifts" so you never know until 2 hours before if you have to work or not.  So I don't know if I'm working 4 hours today or 8.  Just some extra fun things working in retail brings.  

I need that extra boost of inspiration tonight.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll read some more poetry.  Open mic not only showcases some incredible talent, but feeds my well of inspiration so I can then go out and create more.  Plus, it's in Sellwood, which is where my novel is set.   Always good to visit the setting of your book, if you can.  At least in my opinion. They do say to "write what you know", don't they?  

Today I quit resisting my book, and asked my story what it had to tell me.  Turns out a lot.  600 words in 15 minutes?  Not too bad.  And so I soldier on.  I am at about 7,000 words so far.  Now, if I would have written every day for the last month, that would have been an additional 18,000 words...gulp....25,000 words...gulp... and I would have been a lot further towards my goal of 80,000 words.  See where Resistance has got me?  Nowhere good.  BUT, I am back on track and I kicked Resistance in the ass today.  Happy Monday!!!

 

My Book

Last November, I completed NaNoWriMo.  I sat down and wrote out 50,000 words in the month of November.  And since that time, my book has been staring me in the face. It sits in the folder, all alone.

For whatever reason, I am afraid of my own book.  Afraid to finish.  I know what the next steps are, and where I need to take the plot.  I have a million and one writing resources.  I don't touch those either.  Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance, with a capital R.  I think he's right.  

This is the thing I am meant to do, write.  I know it.  Yet, I still deny it, still run from it, still allow my ego to distract me.  I know if I finish, then I am obligated to get the book out there.  Whether through traditional publishing, or self-publishing, it has to happen.  I never give myself a deadline, so then it is impossible for me to fail.  

I am making a promise, a public promise.  My book will be finished by Dec 31st, 2015.  Good, bad, ugly.  Whatever it is, it will be.  Because my soul longs for this.  I am dying to get my stories out and for some reason decided it's okay to punish myself and not do the thing I love the most.  

Ridiculous.  So my ego is going on a shelf, in trade for my dream.  My real, true dream of being a published novelist and a freelance writer.  There.  I said it.  Now that wasn't so, hard was it?  What is the dream you are running from?  Sit down, pound it out and do it.  Because it will never let you go if you don't.