Avoidance Behavior Solved

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

I am convicted.

Not of a crime in the eyes of the state, but of a disservice I am performing, or umm, not performing. I believe in my heart that God has called me to a writing vocation. I do not know if that vocation will provide any amount of income, I only know that He has placed a gift within me to use to build His kingdom and time after time I have run away from fulfilling this mission.

I don’t really know why I’ve done that.  I’ve never been surer of anything in my life. And that alone (reticence and confidence) tells me that there is some very important work to be done that the enemies of my soul are pretty nervous about.

A couple of weeks ago, our new landlady stopped by (did I tell you that the hubz and I are becoming landlords ourselves while we move into a larger rental?! Yep, pretty exciting stuff!) to have us sign the rental paperwork for the unit we will take possession of on September 1. As we were talking, I shared that I am a writer (I really am not sure I should call myself that when it is clear that I hardly ever do what writers do….write…but I did. Convicted.), and her eyes got all aglow and she said:

“that is very important work.”

{Stab.”Start writing Cheryl,” I whispered to myself.}

Her off-hand comment, so pure and kind was refreshing. Most people think of writers as folks who live by their whims, wait for their muse and really don’t have a lot to show for their lives. And, it can be true that we can spend enormous amounts of time getting ready to write. But, what is happening unbeknownst to the average onlooker is that living is taking place, thoughts are bouncing, ideas are formulating regardless of where our muse happens to be. This is all a part of the process. It’s why a person who has never written a book can write a best-seller at the age of 50, it just took that long.

That’s not to say there are no lazy writers who never really get around to the writing part. It’s true, it happens and it has happened to me. But, then I get convicted about it. I can’t really call myself a writer if I’m not writing. And, I’d rather start writing than stop calling myself that.

Make sense?

So, here I am with my other obligations being held at bay for this moment, in order to map out how exactly I plan to get to the page every day…at least every weekday. Hang with me a bit, there is a story.

My first idea is to start again with Morning Pages as invented and taught by none other than the lovely Ms. Julia Cameron. I think Ms. Julia and I have some different philosophies, but overall she’s actually a very inspiring woman. And, the idea of writing three pages of longhand every morning about anything or nothing is both a discipline I want to nurture and an outlet I desperately need.

I process my thoughts internally. So, when there is a lot going on as there is right now in my life, the thoughts end up playing bumper cars; big smiles with all the excitement of ideas swirling but only until I am jarred, rammed into by another competing thought. And, we go in these whip-lash inducing circles for, sometimes, days on end.

Not good.

But, morning pages helps. Taking one thought at a time and writing it down, expanding as my mind roams about the interior of my consciousness looking for clues on what to do with it. It all gets down on paper. And, in doing this, its as though the thoughts start magically lining up to express themselves, like little preschoolers, a little bit squirmy but patiently waiting their turn in the lunch line…and under unspeakable control.

Then there is that distractability thing that I have become very adept at excusing as part of the true creative’s life.  But, really, it’s just another way of saying lack of focus, discipline and consistency. These lacks will get us in trouble on so many levels, they will make us fat, sickly, short sighted, unproductive, poor, sloppy, stupid, etc. etc. I don’t think I need to convince anyone of the importance of discipline and consistency and focus. They are the bedrock of success.

So, becoming a morning pages person again is the first strategy I will use in order to again become what I call myself and have been….a writer.

Then, from these making-sense-of-my-world morning pages I will construct blog posts. Dare I say daily (weekdays, yes?)? Yes, that will be the goal. Week-daily blog posts on this here blog. I expect to discover nuggets that speak to stories we tell ourselves that end up, as frustrating as it is, controlling our daily decisions.

And, that’s not all.

Next, I will carry a notebook, a small one, with me at all times in which I will jot down random thoughts, characters, metaphors that occur to me, well, randomly. I will stop what I am doing, wipe the real or proverbial sleep from my eyes and record these things to be expounded upon later.  In other words, I will wake up to my own life. I will show up. This notebook will be the beginning of my swap file.

A swap file. A file of ideas, stories, photos, quotes that inspire me for the uninspired times that every writer experiences and that make some of us just quit.

So, what’s the story in all this, you ask? As a kid I was never encouraged to think for myself, and now, even still now some decades later even though I’ve got the thinking part down, it feels a little bit foreign to me to do anything significant with what sometimes is all kinds of unique brilliance. Writing is just that…doing something with the thoughts we think, finding the angle that turn an organized randomness into something that holds universal application and actually make a difference in someone’s life.

After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

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Comments
  1. So exciting to see your ship dropping its lines from the harbor and beginning this voyage!

    Can’t wait to see where these new found implementations take you!

    – JH

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