Dare to be YOU!

What the heck has happened?Why am I having so much trouble writing? I asked myself these questions as I wrote in my journal this morning. In recent weeks I have noticed my writing has begun to feel stale and forced, lacking the joy I usually feel. Sarabelle has been conspicuously absent and I’ve been feeling boxed in, pressured.

As the answers flowed from my heart into my fingers, I discovered the reason. I’ve been trying to force my writing and even more so my workshop content into conformance with the examples of others. Not the expectations of others, but my own expectations of what people want to read and how they want to learn, and those expectations have been based on how other successful people are doing things. I also admit there was a tad bit of competition in there, and fear of being left in the dust. These emotions spring from my Inner Critic do not foster creativity and growth!

Before I write another word, I must emphasize that as Herm pointed out in a recent post, learning from Other People’s Examples and Experience is a brilliant way to avoid traps yourself. It’s well worth the effort to study what others have done and analyze what makes it work (or not), applying the results to your own work. However, beware lest you fall into the trap of imitation, the sincerest form of flattery, but a most insincere way of writing.

Posing questions and then beginning to write without thought or predetermination is a powerful way of gaining insight, and the technique came through for me like a magic wand. I quickly reconnected with my core identity of Explorer, one I’ve been aware of for years. I am an adventurer. I delight in discovering new places and ways of thinking and making connections between people and ideas from various sources. I take joy in finding new ways of doing things and overcoming obstacles. I love writing reports of my findings. I enjoy pushing my own limits and helping others do the same.

Formulas and detailed maps don’t work for Explorers. We must find our own way, sometimes using the latest technology and other times falling back on the basics, (like walking, chopping wood for a fire, or writing with pencil and paper). We read the situation and do what’s called for. We shun routine maintenance. We focus on climbing the current hill.

This thought-full re-vision rekindled my passion for the memoir I’m working on, and reminded me that I must avoid the trap of hammering my course content into someone else’s mold. That’s the surest way to bore students and stifle real learning.

So, I discovered that I do dare to be ME — my own unique, juicy, creative self . I don’t want to be responsible for running an empire with all the schedule anchors and promotion that involves; I want to travel light and write and teach footloose and fancy free. I invite you to learn from my experience, and dare to be YOU! Live and write your life your way.

Write now: pick up your journal or a handful of blank paper and write a burning question at the top. This question can be about your writing or anything else that’s puzzling you. Then free your mind of preconceptions and expectations and let the answer flow from your heart into your fingers.


Shaddy said...

Thank you for encouraging me to be me. It's truly the only way to go.

Pat's Place said...

Interesting! I am an adventurer myself and seem to be looking for the next challenge, the next new mountain to climb, the next--What?? I am not sure where I am headed now, but the way it has been does not seem to interest me anymore. Getting away to NM seems to have stirred some deep thinking. I am curious where this will lead me!! Stay tuned...

Ritergal said...

Shaddy, I've spent enough years trying to live up to other people's expectations that I know that doesn't work.

Ritergal said...


There are many restless souls about these days. "What next" is a great journaling topic!

Livvy U. said...

Hello. I come to you by way of my Mslexia diary, where I just found the section in which your blog features. My own blog is so very much the kind of writing I believe you are encouraging, that I am encouraged in turn... The exercises at the end of each post look fascinating and true and set to draw out of us often through lateral thinking.
And I like the post about reading - I really like that you acknowledge that reading good work can set your Inner Critic on overtime... I SO relate to that!
Thanks for this. I will come and visit again.

Ritergal said...


I'm so glad you found my blog, and I yours. Your posts are remarkably poignant and insightful. Real and true, and down to the bone! Write your heart out and feel the healing.

Gullible said...

At a recent writer's conference, a New York City agent gave us attendees some advice:

1. The writing has to be "good enough."

2. Don't tell me your writing doesn't fit into a specific genre.

I'm guilty, feloniously so, of the second one. What to do when my muse leads me into unknown territory?

Ritergal said...

Hey Gullible, after a quick scan of your scintillating Gullible's Travels blog, I see your challenge. You might be local interest, perhaps Alaska, perhaps lots of other things. Your individual pieces cover a lot of territory. Overall, there is no question your collection is memoir. I'll definitely be back later to read more.