I am 6,912 words into a short story I was quite proud of. Until I slowed to a snail's pace with my writing, and then came to what can quite literally be considered a halt. Full stop. 60 to 0 mph. Nada, zilch. I got nothin'.
But inspiration is sure to come back. Perch on my shoulder and whisper sweet nothings into my ear until I finish the darn thing...right?
Or not. And that will have to be okay. Because one of many things I'm learning right now is to be pleased with progress, no matter how big or small, and to remember to enjoy the process as well as (what will eventually be) the end product.
It reminds me of something my Coach advised recently: to focus on finding comfort in the place where doing meets being, and creative progress will come. Admittedly, it can be
challenging and sometimes frustrating to live at this junction. I mean let's face it, pausing to find the stillness in just being is tough. We have to-do lists and errands. We have the Internet, for God's sake, with all of its glorious pixels of distraction. If we can find that place though, and get cozy there for a while, it only makes sense that good things will manifest: thoughts, ideas, time, process, new format, new beginnings, shifts and flow.
The process after all, is what ultimately has staying power. I will very likely remember the ebb and flow of having written this story more than the final outcome. And it's those experiences I'll take with me on my next creative adventure. And the one after that.
I think Elizabeth Gilbert speaks to this beautifully in her book, "Big Magic", when she says: “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” And how do we define "success" and "failure" anyway? They are just two comparative words, borne from our inner Judge, that help us label our level of achievement. They are based on what we've personally and culturally been taught is right and good and finished. And on top of all that, categorizing our work as "successes" or "failures" truly throws the whole self-love idea out the window. And we'll need all the self-love we can get when putting ourselves out on the proverbial creative limb, exposed and vulnerable as that can be!
My morning journaling practice has personally helped me combat the negative inner dialogue. One practice I love is what Julia Cameron introduces in her book, "The Artist's Way", of writing (stream-of-conscious-style) a list of positive affirmations declaring our unedited self truths - about creativity, career, relationships, parenting - to better grasp who we know we are once our snarky Ego is kicked to the curb.
Some of mine from back in October, when I was just starting to think maybe (just maybe) I deserved to redefine myself as a practicing Creative were:
1.) I have the right to rediscover and practice my creativity.
2.) I am a talented writer and performer. I just need to make more time for it.
3.) I can write something people will want to read.
4.) I have great stage presence and should audition for a show.
5.) I deserve to take/make time for myself to continue this creative rediscovery.
Then, a few months later:
1.) I am one with the Universe. The Universe is awesome and I am awesome!
2.) I have a voice and character that others should get to know and love.
3.) I will make a fruitful and enjoyable living some day (soon!) from my art.
Of course, there are all sorts of vengeful voices chiming in with reasons these things aren't possible. But let's remember the strength of our Creative Will, far more bold and louder...when we listen.
So yeah, I've only written 6,912 words of my story. But I've also already written 6,912 words. There is more work ahead and wholeness can form from bits and pieces. Showing up to the work every day is progress to be revered.
Just. Show. Up. And commit to the process. Good things are sure to come.