Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Starting Over - this time with Heart

From this...
Grumpy Cat
By Yesterdaywastomorrow (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I'm a grumbler, I've noticed.
When something doesn't go the way I want it to, I get cross and cranky.
When I set goals and don't meet them, I feel ashamed. And disappointed. And sad.
And then cross and cranky.


My last post was a bit of a grumble. It was also an attempt to understand why on earth I just couldn't sit down and WRITE MY NOVEL!
I didn't get any clear answers about that while I was writing the post.
I did feel better for getting things off my chest, although I'm not sure my words would inspire anybody reading them! And even though I'm tempted to delete it, I won't. It's a benchmark of where I was last week.

However, despite feeling cross and cranky, not once did it cross my mind - although I'm not sure I conveyed this in the post - to give up on my writing. The post wasn't about giving up, it was more of a lament for the non-achievement of writing goals.

Today, I have a few ideas about that.

Comparison-itis


"My name is Lisa and I suffer from Comparison-itis."

I read other blogs, and I celebrate the achievements of other writers because I am genuinely delighted with their successes. I have some insight into the lengthy journey and hard work that goes into finishing a project and then revising it. Then there's the beta readers, the editors, the cover designers, the formatting, and sending it off to be published/sold.

Once the celebrating is over, though, I sit back and look at what I'm doing. Or not doing.

Deadly.

Won't say any more.

A Change of Mindset


Firstly, I need to change my mindset. Slow down. Notice what's going on, notice how I'm feeling. Accept it. Don't try to change it. Don't try to "fix" it. Don't struggle to overcome it. They're all pointless and even though this M.O. used to work when I was younger, I'm finding it counterproductive now. The more I resist something, the more it persists and fights for acknowledgement. As time goes on, it gets harder and harder to overcome something I've been ignoring for a long time.

What works now - and I tried this today - is to sit with whatever is going on. Just be with it. Don't judge it. Don't ignore it. Resisting an emotion means it gets "stuck" instead of flowing through and away. Whereas if I accept it, it eventually moves on all by itself.

(So, from now on, even if I don't meet my goals, for example, I'm just going to sit with that and let it be. No More Grumbling!

Goal-Setting


Secondly, setting a goal at the start of the week and then expecting it to remain set in stone for the next seven days, without taking into account what's happening day to day, just isn't working for me. That's why I'm going to do the following experiment:

  • Retire to my writing room in the evening
  • Be still. Connect to my Heart
  • And set my writing goal for the following day. Not the whole week. Just the following day.

That way it's not my mind telling me what I need to do. I'm being guided by the "still small voice within" which is the whole idea behind this blog, and the foundation for how I want to live my life.

Let's see how that works.

Shorter Pieces of Writing


Shan's comment on my last post reminded me - and I'm rolling my eyes that I needed reminding yet again! - that I do write every day. I wrote every day in my journal last week. In terms of fiction, I'm mulling over the idea of writing something shorter than a novel, e.g. flash fiction, a short story, a poem, a verse of a song, something like that.

That doesn't mean I've given up on my novel. I still have to do that exercise where I find out where writing this novel fits into my life. I'm looking forward to that. :)

Goals for next week


  • Keep writing in my journal
  • Set a writing goal each evening for the following day
  • Make time for those goals each day
  • Comment on my team's ROW80 blogs

...to this
Serene Tiger
Image by Karen Arnold courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

10 comments:

  1. Wow, we're bathing in the same water here. I am starting to feel there is something wrong with me because I can't just right. The novel thing is the devil card :p.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think everyone in our group is going through the same phase... Nice to know it's not just me!
      Deep breath - Relax - Let go. That's my plan. It'll be interesting to see what writing goal - if any - comes up for tomorrow.

      Delete
  2. That kitty cat looks like me first thing in the morning :)

    I find that trying to force myself to write when I'm stuck just doesn't work. I need to just wait it out and do other things. I used to do 10 minute spills where you write non stop for 10 minutes even if you have nothing to write about because it's supposed to unblock your brain. But it never worked very well for me.

    Here is a post from one of my favourite websites, Brainpickings about overcoming creative blocks that I thought might be of interest to you
    http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/02/28/creative-block-krysa/

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    Replies
    1. Naomi, thank you for that link! That's very good of you.
      I'm the same when it comes to being stuck and trying to push through it. It just doesn't work. No problem producing words, any drivel at all will come out, but for me the fact that I'm blocked is actually a signpost that I need to take notice of. If I'm stuck/blocked, then there's something in my life I'm ignoring, and my writing suffers as a result...

      Delete
  3. For me, one of the hardest (and BEST) things I've learned is to just live in the moment, and do exactly what you're describing here. To just focus on what I'm doing here and now rather than letting the future or the past influence me. It's deceptively difficult, but, when you pull it off, you really feel like nothing can stop you. It's liberating to stop worrying about this and that or the other thing and just to ~do~ and ~be~.

    I'm definitely the kind of person who likes things a certain way, and I would get so cranky and grumbly when they didn't. I still catch myself every once in a while, but, when you realize how little it matters in the grand scheme of things, the crankiness eases up and then, guess what, an hour later, you're in a completely different mindset. It takes practice, but the results are phenomenal.

    Have you ever heard of a book called "The Tao of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff? It's a wonderful, inspiring read to tap into this approach of live and let live. Might be worth a look; it's one of my favorites.

    Good luck with everything! Just remember that, usually, if things seem rough now, in a few days, the roughness smooths out into some smooth sailing...at least until the next rough patch, but, hey, that one smooths out, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you for that book recommendation, I really appreciate that. I will definitely check it out. I love Pooh bear. Can't wait to share the stories with my little guy. :)
      Yup, roll with the rough waves, that's all I can do. I was just sitting with the discomfort I'm feeling at the moment, and I had a small lightbulb moment about why I'm stuck. It makes a lot of sense and I may write a blog post about this.
      Thank you again for stopping by and for your helpful suggestions.

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  4. You've recognized one of the most important things: even though you didn't reach your goals, you still made progress. You wrote every day. That's great! Whether it was in your journal, on something other than your novel, or on your novel, you wrote every day. That's the important thing.

    You have excellent weekly (or half-weekly) goals. They're easy to keep and allow you to recognize that you made progress. Great stuff! Good luck this week!

    John Holton
    The Sound Of One Hand Typing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, John. Yes, I keep forgetting that journalling is writing. It might one day feature in a story in a different guise! Life Stuff. :)

      I'm trying to run with simple goals and I've made a resolution to not complain any more, to just accept what is. No judgement - no judging myself - and no complaining. Fingers crossed. :)

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  5. Wow! That really explains some of my issues. I couldn't figure out why I was having trouble focusing on the writing. I have tried to scale down my AROW80 goals, but maybe I need to think about daily goals, as you suggested.

    Thank you, Lisa.

    Have a fantastic rest of the week!

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    1. Thanks, Cindy. I'm glad you found that idea helpful. I hope you have a good week too. :)

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Hi! I love reading new comments so thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to get back to you to continue the conversation. :)