Two weeks ago my beloved 50-foot silver maple tree succumbed to high winds and uprooted my lawn and my world. I’ve just spent five days taking my world back, not replanting to replace or duplicate, but embracing the opportunity to reach deeper, higher, differently.
The seed: a five-day program called Engaging and Awakening Others. That is what authors do and why they do it. However, some of us called to write have heard and heeded the spark of creativity, but have way too many layers of self-doubt, fear, anxiety, conditioning, and others’ values and beliefs to allow that creativity to take form and shine. This program is not just for writers; in fact, in my few years of connecting with Wel-Systems programs I have met everyone but those who make their living from the printed word. But spending these five days exploring who I am, who I am called to be and why the hell I’m not doing it will not only make me a more whole and happy person, it has given me the skills to tackle those classic writing blocks and excuses that keep my words hidden and my creativity hostage.
Here are three excuses that have locked my words and ideas in the dungeon, and what I’m doing to release them:
1. I don’t have time.
Classic strategy, and one easily sold to those who observe a busy mother of three, an author, publisher, freelance writer, communications consultant, friend … yes, I am and do all of those things, but I still have time to write. An hour, 15 minutes, a day here and there. I make time to eat, nap, pick up my children (when someone esle could do it), meet with clients, flop on the couch for reruns and linger over laundry as if it were prized artwork. I make time to do what I feel is important. Me saying I don’t have time to write is me saying writing isn’t important to me. Why would I say that and be called to do it at the same time? Because to feel its importance would be to admit that I love it, and past experience with myself and observing others is that you should love nothing or no one that much, let alone show it. You’ll be teased, you’ll be used, you’ll have your heart broken. That’s what I was telling myself every time I thought about writing. But no more. Writing is what I do. It is part of who I am. That’s why I wrote the Finding Maria series. Yes, it was to give someone I love their life back. It turns out the stories and their process of creation were also to give me back my own life.
2. My writing sucks.
The only voice to tell me that is the one inside my head, the voice of my intellect which in its bid to keep me safe needs to keep my world small and all external influences out. Quite frankly, all writing sucks and all writing is brilliant. The only thing writing can never be is perfect, which is the unrealistic ideal I set up to keep everything shut down. ‘This isn’t perfect, so it must suck … quit wasting your time and go do something useful.’ I still hear that voice. Yet as I write this, my body is absorbing the anxiety and using it to slide words from my cells to my fingers. Yes, I own it, my writing sucks. It is also brilliant. It is up to the reader, not me, which description they choose.
3. Everyone will hate me.
This is my eight-year-old voice, the one who craved attention on the playground, standing among kids bigger and older because she was moved ahead a grade, teased and avoided because she was the ‘smart one.’ Success brought ridicule, I learned early on. Fitting in, now, that was a safe place. It just wasn’t a place to be creative, innovative, or shiny, which is what writing can do. Writing can also give insight into one’s essence: hopes and dreams, fears and doubts, opinions and vision. To have someone criticize, demean, or attack anything in there is like having a chainsaw loosed on your insides. However, in finding my adult voice I realize I don’t need playground attention from those seeking the small and weak. I crave attention from those who own and love themselves, share that love and respect with others and acknowedge that when they shine, the whole world becomes brighter. To attract that attention, I have to start within, embracing the dark,light, and grey that is me, owning it all. In the past five days I’ve learned that the ‘everyone’ I was giving my power to was actually myself. No one hated me, except me. Inviting myself to love myself allows me to love the words I create. Will these words be a commercial success? Maybe. What is guaranteed is that they will be authentic, which will serve mne long after the promotion fades and the royalties dry up.
This is by no means an easy process, or over and done with in five days. This is the start of a new way of living, with thoughts fed by feelings, rather than the other way around. Like my tree uprooted, my life is now upside down. But like my tree, which has found renewed purpose in new form, so will my life, if I let my spirit and body lead my once-overwrought mind.
Have a good week!
Jennifer Hatt is author of the Finding Maria series and a partner in the publishing company Marechal Media Inc.