Monday, July 29, 2019

What's Up Block?

It’s no secret that creative blocks can be common for most writers. One of the greatest misconceptions about writer’s block is that it looks the same for everyone. 

It doesn’t. 

Sometimes I am flooded with so many new ideas and potential plotlines and infinite possibilities that I CAN NOT WRITE! How am I supposed to choose just one? 

My natural reaction to this is to spend three hours on Twitter, reading about things that have nothing to do with my writing. Like, did you know that two popular YouTube stars got married and charged $50.00 for people to watch the live stream of their nuptials? Can you imagine? 

Gosh, if only. 

But I digress. 

Creative blocks can manifest seemingly from nowhere. They can be painful or they can be disguised as productivity. Procrastination is a tricky little witch. For example, when avoiding writing I have been known to organize my closet, take up bullet journaling, read my tarot cards, play with my puppy, and even do six loads of laundry. 

All that nervous, anxious energy needs an outlet. So why can’t I just channel it into my writing? 

The answer may be quite simple: writing doesn’t always look like writing. 

We live in a culture that exposes everything, especially all our wins. For writers in the trenches, this is a dangerous place to base your perceptions. Sometimes writing is dreaming, or walking, or talking with a friend. Sometimes it’s spending hours perusing your old journals to reconnect with your young adult self. And, yes, sometimes it’s crying, wagging your fist at the Universe for cursing you with this life, and wishing for a miracle. 

The important thing is to keep moving forward. 

Maybe you won’t write today. Maybe #MondayMotivation isn’t your thing. Maybe you are going to swim in the pool or walk along the beach. 

It’s okay to move at your own pace as long as you keep moving. 

Often times, creative blocks are blocks to our highest self – after all, creativity is a spiritual path. 

Here are three things to do when you feel “stuck” – 

1. Am I tired? Stressed? Worried about money or a family member? If so, how can I spend twenty minutes today practicing self-care? What can I do to replenish my own creative well? Go for a walk, read, take a bath… simple, mindful, focused acts for yourself can go a long way to restoring your creative soul.

2. Am I comparing my journey to someone else’s? If so, take 5 minutes for a “Quick Bitch” session and get your grievances out of your mind and down on paper. You don’t want to experience fatigue from over-thinking. Getting out of our head and into the heart requires a few minutes of honesty. The “Quick Bitch” tool has saved me from losing whole entire days to imaginary opponents. (How it works: set a timer for 5 minutes, make a list of everything causing you pain, don’t think, just write stream-of consciousness style. When the 5 minutes are up, stop.) 

3. Why do I want to write? Knowing your “Why” is essential for every creative. Have you tried writing a “Why Statement” to make your mission concrete. This powerful activity can help you get clear about your writerly vision so you don’t feel the need to do everything all at once. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Returning to the Self

 Blogging had long been an exciting part of my creative process. I loved reaching out to like-minded creatives and sharing my journey. But like everything, life soon got in the way. I was embarking on a new path, leaving one profession, deep into my creative writing MFA, and struggling to sort it all out. So naturally, I put blogging on the back-burner while I tried to make sense of the changes in my life. 

One thing I have learned is that sometimes our journey is all about returning to the Self. This returning allows us to reassess our values, establish new goals, and work to develop a more authentic expression of who we have become.  Paradoxically, in order to do that, we need to retreat. Retreating can be beneficial to heal old wounds, shield our sensitivities to the opinions of others, and ensure that we are acting from a place of highest good. But eventually we must reemerge.

Imagine if the caterpillar refused to leave the cocoon? The world would be robbed of the beauty of butterflies. Growth can be painful, full of doubt, and definitely uncomfortable. It is this uncomfortableness that forces us to break out of the cocoon and learn to fly. 

With that said, I have come full-circle and plan to use the blog to grow with my new creative community. I hope you’ll join me as I use writing, wonder, word witchery, and well-being to fuel the next phase of my creative journey. 

Here are 3 tips for returning to yourself in order to move forward: 

1. Don’t be afraid of the cocoon: maybe you can’t totally retreat, but you can find the time to scale back your interaction, involvement, and investment in things that drain your energy. The cocoon for you may mean taking 20 minutes a day to meditate, exercise, or focus your attention to what you truly desire. 

2. Ask for what you truly want: remove money, age, and societal expectations from the equation and ask yourself what it is that is causing the anxiety, pressure, and stress. Often times we confuse anxiety and opportunity. If there is lack, there is opportunity for abundance. Listen to what your heart is telling you and ask, “What do I want?” 

3. Know the difference between your mind and your heart driven desires: remember, your mind is liar. Its whole purpose is to prevent you from experiencing pain so it will tell you terrible things to keep you from growing. However, your heart’s goal is growth and as we’ve discussed true growth is uncomfortable. Remember: if it feels like a gift, accept it…and if it feels like a burden, reject it.