Get Shit Finished.

I made it through Mother's Day.  And the first part of this week.  I've already done a little "Lyfting" this week, 3 rides last night.  I'm steadily building up to working more and more hours and find I love driving for Lyft. In fact, I love driving around the city at night.   I'm also working at Pier 1, around 16-20 hours per week is my average.  In addition to that, I have all sorts of what I call my "creative work".  That means things like this, blogging.  Writing words for my novel.  I'm getting close to approaching 10,000 words, which is good.   And the story keeps coming.

I am also doing some historical research on Portland to make sure some of the details of my story are correct for the time period, so I have a stack of books I need to skim through to get back to the library. I'm working my way through Julia Cameron's second book "Walking In This World", which is the follow-up book to the "Artist's Way".  It's another game changer.  This week she talked about finishing things, in her section "Discovering a Sense of Momentum".  She talks about artists getting blocked not because they have too few ideas, but because they have too many.

Ugh!  I so know what she is talking about.  I either freeze up, or the wheels come off, because there is so much running around inside me.  One thing she recommends is taking a walk, because some of the creative energy needs to be siphoned off.  So true.  This is also something morning pages is really good for.  Siphoning off of some of that creative energy.  But, another part of this is finishing things.  Many times we artists are amazing at starting things...a million different projects going at once.  But the real gold is when we finish.  

This is what Julia says: "A body in motion remains in motion, and nowhere is this law more true than in creative endeavors.  When we want to grease the creative wheels, we do very well to muster a little elbow grease elsewhere.  Mend the trousers.  Hang the curtains.  I do not know why hemming the droopy pant leg gives you the juice to get to the easel, but it does.  I cannot tell you what it is about detoxing the mud closet that makes you see more clearly how to end a short story-or start one-but it does.  Finishing almost anything-sorting your CD collection, pumping up a bike tire, matching and mating your socks-creates both order and an inner order. "Now, start something," finishing something says."

And so for me, I have some finishing to do.  Actually, lots of finishing.  Classes I have purchased but have not taken, books not read, messy piles of paper and things that need to be sorted.  Though right now I occupy a fairly tiny space, you would be surprised at how messy and cluttered this can get.  I cannot create amidst the disorder.  So I've decided to get a binder for those half-finished songs and get them finished.  File my paperwork.  And get those plastic bins under my bed labeled and organized.  Go through my closet, small as it is, and get rid of the things I never wear.  Delete old emails, voicemails and text messages I don't need.  I am a packrat with information.  These are projects I have long put off, but now I need to get this shit finished so I will be clearer about getting other things finished, like my two novels.  I don't know who this guy is yet, but I like this quote.  Let's get epic shit finished!

Create That Shit.

True to my word, here I am again.  Just finished morning pages, and getting ready for my shift at Pier 1.  Working part-time is awesome!  A few weeks ago I decided I had been thinking about this job thing all wrong.  I worked for a lot of years, 25 to be exact, full-time.  I also worked other part-time jobs while working full-time, and then went to school full-time while also working full-time and obtained my four-year degree.  Phew!  That is a lot of working.  For other people.  But now, I have switched it up.  My career, my job is writing.  And creativity.  So whatever "workaday" job I have will be in support of that. 

I intend to work enough to pay my bills, build my savings back up and payoff my debt I accrued from traveling.  I am creating a life I love, on my own terms.  The bulk of the work I do now is work no one ever sees, my creative work.  People tell me "you're so creative" or "I'm just not creative".  I always say bollocks to that because everyone is creative to some degree.  

What you may not realize about creativity is it does not just happen.  It is not that some of us are most blessed with it than others.  It is that some of us decide to make it a priority.  I get up early every day and write 3 pages of gibberish first thing in the morning.  Not for anyone else, just me.  I am working through Julia Cameron's follow-up to the "Artist's Way", "Walking In This World".  I surround myself with people who are also creative, and who support me.  No time for negativity here.  I am reading 2 or 3 or even 4 books at a time, most of that non-fiction.  Current titles on my bookshelf are "True Irish Ghost Stories", "Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change" (Pema Chodron) and "Memories of Old Sellwood".  The last one is part of ongoing research I am doing for one of my books.

And then there are all the day-to-day things to focus on, like exercise, feeding yourself, keeping my space tidy.  If all those things are out of whack, then creating is impossible.  I also need a certain amount of time alone daily to recharge.  I do not like to be alone, but I do need a significant amount of alone time.  When I write, I go into a deep place within myself that no one else is in.  I have to, or I cannot create.  Creativity also spills over into a lot of different areas too.  I can play the guitar, write poetry and blog.  I even go to an open mic where I sometimes read.  I am also getting into photography.  The flow is always there, you just have to decide to jump in.  

It has taken me countless hours upon hours by myself to hone my craft, which is words, first and foremost.  When I do not honor this daily, my soul has a restless energy that does not abate until I create.  Just know that for every blog post you see, who knows how many hours might be behind it.  I have a deep, deep reservoir inside me that I can pull from.  So that is the difference, really.  I have made a very conscious effort to craft a life that supports my writing.  Am I gifted in it?  Probably.  These blog posts take me about 10-15 minutes to write, with very little editing.  But, I have to keep nurturing and growing it otherwise it will wither and die.  I spent a lot of years blocking my own creativity, without even realizing I was doing it.  Now, the river is flowing.  

So jump in!  If there is something you have been dreaming about, a secret, silent tug at your heart, FOLLOW IT!!!  We need people who see and express the beauty of life.  Julia Cameron says art "alchemizes the experiences of our life".  She's right!  The best stuff comes from the worst time.  Maybe if people opened up to their own creativity just a tiny bit, we wouldn't have all the problems we do.  Creatives are the innovators, and point the way to the next "evolution", if you will, of the human race.  We're like scouts, out there on the fringes, encouraging others to come because it is a wondrous, beautiful new world.  If you don't express what is in your soul, it will turn on you and become something ugly and distorted.  As Julia also says, we act out our dramas in life because we are not acting them out on the page or on the canvas.  So get to it.  Start creating.  But just know, once you step on the path, you will never be the same.