Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Choice, Commitment and the Writing Journey

I’ve had many starts and stops in my writing career. Now I hover at yet another turning point. But quitting isn’t in my blood anymore.

I started writing early. Once I got through two years of special reading instruction in grades two and three, I began writing. My first attempts were plays. I liked to perform shows in my basement as a kid, so I thought why not write them. That didn’t last long. I went back to reading stories and making them up in my head. I think that’s when perfectionism first started to get in the way.

At 13, when I discovered magick and witchery, I also found poetry. My eighth grade English teacher really liked the Haiku I wrote. It was fun for a bit, and then I went back to reading and daydreaming. I also let magick go and became agnostic.

It wasn’t until my early twenties that poetry reemerged. I also took a community education class on writing magazine articles. I wrote a little but soon gave it up. That’s when I decided to go back to University for a BA in English. I knew I had a lot more work to do in order to become a good writer.

The thing is I could have been a good writer by my mid-twenties if I’d not given up so many times. Perfectionism and lack of confidence have been with me for a long time. I let them stop me from doing something that has always wanted and enjoyed doing.

After I graduated from University, I started writing a romance novel. I finished it about two years later and sent a query with chapters to Harlequin Romance in England. This was big for me. I even did a success spell (magick had come back into my life at this point) so it would rise to the top of the query pile.

Three months later, I received a very nice rejection letter. They told me the writing was fine, but it just didn’t have heart. I gave up and went back to reading and exploring alternative spirituality.

Eight years later I started and finished another novel. This time, an urban fantasy tied to the 2012 awakening. I sent this one to more than one agent. After about seven rejections I gave up. It was almost 2012 anyway. I started an online business and continued to read a lot.

Again, if I had just kept writing instead of giving up, I would have been further along.

The online businesses included editing books and writing copy and articles for companies. Those didn’t last that long either. I was too much of a perfectionist for editing and I hated getting paid so little for writing. But I didn’t quit writing this time. About five years ago I sent out a few poems and got two published. I also sent out spiritual articles and got one published.

But then I hesitated. Finally, I started a blog then another and another to encompass all the areas I was interested in writing about. I created an email list where I shared my most personal writings, and through this I finally developed my voice. Four years after my first publications, I got published four times. But that was a year ago.

I’m at a crossroads. I’m hesitating again. Six months ago I went back to coaching writers, this time in writing instead of online marketing. I enjoy coaching writers. Being of service is just as much a part of my nature as is writing. I know I won’t give up writing. I’m doing it every day now. Is it fear or perfectionism that has me standing still when it comes to publishing? I’m coaching myself in real time here.

Life is made one decision at a time. Each decision is a commitment woven into the pattern that unfolds before our eyes. Choice is never a curse because we can always choose again. The pattern can be unraveled and rewoven. But nothing moves forward until we decide our next step. It can be tiny. But we must take it.

This moment of indecision is not about giving up writing, but it is about giving up something to make room for it. And that’s why I stand here not knowing the next step. The one thing I’ve never done in all these years is fully commit to anything except my marriage.

Commitment is exclusive. Commitment is choosing the one road even though you don’t know where it will take you. You have some idea, but there is no certainty. You only know you’re going to follow it because at the end of it is your vision and another crossroads. And even your vision may change before you get there because you change on the way. But none of this happens without commitment. Without choosing.

I choose coaching writers and writing to publish. I can’t coach writers without being in the game myself. I commit to them both. The real choice now is to let go of all the other things. It’s time for more decisions. It’s time to clear the path on these roads. I realize I’ll be living two lives though they are related. This is all the more reason to let go of other things. This is where this season of letting go has led me. It’s time to go within and decide.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Unravel Resistance to Realize Potential

Photo by Prettysleepy2 on pixabay

I feel resistance to working on my current project. Up until now I’ve mostly written shorter pieces. I don’t resist those as much. I can finish them in one sitting, almost. I write, take a break and then go back and edit. This long essay isn’t that simple. It’s also the first piece I’ll be sending out to paying journals.

I’ve been paid for my writing before, but it was copywriting or ghost writing blogs. It wasn’t my own stuff. Last year I got up the nerve to send my work to online journals that don’t pay. I got published. I have my clips. Now it’s time to get paid. And I’ve resisted. It’s been a year since my last non-paid publication.

So, it seems my resistance may be more about getting paid than the different type of writing I’m doing.

I feel my perfectionism kicking in. I’m afraid it won’t get accepted. I dream of getting paid for my ideas and stories not someone else’s marketing copy or blogs, but I’m afraid I won’t make it. I know my writing is good and yet I have doubts.

Even though I’m experiencing all this resistance, this time feels different. This time I know I won’t give up on myself like I have so many times before.

I will finish my current essay and submit it. I may wait on my muse and approach my destiny as a process, but I will no longer wait for perfection. I won’t give up when it gets difficult. I won’t lose patience with myself. Compassion is needed when our passions get tied up in our fears. I will take the next step and the next as needed. I will let it unfold. 

Life exceeds our expectations when we let it. We don’t make things happen. We allow and in that opening everything is possible.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wait for It

Photo by PublicDomainPictures on pixabay

Gather the flowers of your imaginings; let them go to seed so you may gather more.

Something is emerging from the shadows of my imagination. With every inspired action, what it is becomes clearer.

That’s the way this waiting on wingbeats and stars thing works. This is the creative process in action. It requires patience and a sense of devotion.

I’m not saying you don’t need to practice and know your art well. Craft is an important part of the creative process. It’s what helps us release our imaginings into the world. But without those imaginings there would be no creative works.

The deeper our devotion, the more patience we are able to have, the greater the work. So I wait for what is emerging.

I’ve been creating and facilitating workshops lately. The ideas are flowing and I’m bringing them into the world. As I do this work, another idea forms from the actualization of a class. Interacting with the ideas and with class participants generates more ideas. And on it goes. A greater work is emerging from this process. In order for it to come forth, I need to continue taking the next step and the next step. But I can’t rush it.

So, here I sit and write after being inundated with ideas earlier this morning. I needed more sleep, but when you’re in this deep, the muse shows up when you’re most open. Early morning is one of those times. Here I sit exploring this amazing process. But mostly here I sit, waiting. When I know more, I’ll share it with you. It’s bigger than a workshop and includes deep work for writers and for those of us who want to serve but need to learn to do it in a healthy way. There seems to be two tracks here. But we’ll see what emerges.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Whispers from the Universe in the Form of a Wasp

Photo by augustfinster on pixabay

I didn’t want to kill it. I just didn’t want it in the house.

While meditating, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Yes, my eyes were open during meditation…it’s one of the types I practice. Anyway, I looked and there was something crawling along the bottom of the window. It was a wasp. I’d seen a wasp flying just outside my window a lot lately, but now it was on this side. I paused my meditating and wondered what to do.

Finally, I decided to get a plastic container and capture it so I could release it outside. When I came back from collecting the container, it was gone. But where did it go? Damn. I looked around, but didn’t see it. I decide to go back to meditating when it flew back to the window. Okay. I’d see what I could do.

It’s funny how afraid we are of small things even if they can sting. I’d never been stung before and didn’t want to find out if I was allergic. I wondered if trying to capture it would piss it off.

I took the container and slowly put it over the wasp. It just sat there. Now what? I moved the container hoping the wasp would walk in. Nothing. I waited. Finally, it began to go inside the container but only near the edge. How was I going to pull the container away and cover it without it getting out? The wasp just sat there and then began grooming itself. Then is started to get really slow. Was it running out of air?

This was ridiculous. I wanted to get back to meditating. It was now or never. I pulled the container away as slow as I could.  The wasp didn’t move. I covered it. I’d captured it!

I took it downstairs and put the container on the bench outside and uncovered it. The wasp simply flew up and away. No problem.

I’m glad I decided to release the wasp. I’m not sure how it got in or why it decided to visit me other than they are builders and I’ve been thinking a lot about building a life and a business. The more I read about wasp, it felt as though it was confirming my current path.

The Universe speaks to us in many ways. Spirit guides us from within and sometimes it shows up in what seems to be outside of us. But I never really believed there was an outside exactly. My inner world and the outer world always felt like one thing. The world of Spirit was in the mix as well. It was confusing as a child. I got the feeling others didn’t feel the same way. As I grew older I learned to see these worlds as separate just enough to understand the constructs humans built. But there is still a sense of fluidity of being.

Wasp is another sign of spring. It’s a time of building and creating. It’s a time to make a fresh start. I’ve been afraid of yet another start of my business. But this time I feel my inner strength is back. I’ve done the work to take much of the sting out of my past. I’ve grown in awareness and won’t let the little things deter me.

I got back to meditating that day. I didn’t lose focus due to the wasp visitation. If anything, I gained more focus. I trusted Nature, I trusted the wasp. It trusted me. As I released it, I released myself. Life turns on these small incidents. I may still have moments of doubt. I may falter now and then, but there is no going back. Last September I felt as though I was entering a threshold where the other side represented me no longer hindered by my past. I have walked through now. It has been the longest step. And I know there is no arrival time just this movement forward that flows from being, the being that is home, the place I never left.