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.