How do they do it? Writers, actors, painters? How do they create so many works of art? They show up. There are days when they are inside out and upside down but they show up. Not 100 percent bright eyed and bushy tailed. Not with motivation.
They show up for their dreams, they show with their discipline, and they show up keeping that commitment they made with themselves. That’s how they do it.
I’m sure quitting crosses their minds from time to time. I’m sure some of them even walk away for a moment and in that very moment maybe they do quit but the truth is, they don’t. Successful writers come back to the page and finish what they started.
There’s always a million other things to do.
There’s always time for a nap or cleaning or even an extra hour at the gym. If there is anything I’ve learned it’s that there is never enough time to write. It’s not just the clock, it’s the amount of energy, the amount of focus and mental stamina. It’s ok to spend time taking care of your priorities but when it’s time to write, it’s important to show up.
There’s not a huge expectation here. It’s just show up and write everyday. You don’t have to want to. You just have to do it. One more scene. One more detail about your character, one more juicy tidbit about your world. There’s no need to be enthusiastic or energetic. The page could care less about your mood or your energy. The characters just need you to be there, giving them a reason to come to life.
A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
The work is always going to be there, you will not. It’s so easy in today’s world to get caught up in the over ambitious lifestyle. Work work work till you drop. I think discipline and hard work are both important things but not to the point that they become oppressive. Writing should add to your growth. It can bring you tears. It can bring you frustration especially when you’re dealing with internal conflict, but it shouldn’t oppress you.
In this world oppression is normal and being a slave to our thoughts and feelings is normal. As conscious writers, we are gifted the luxury of standing up for ourselves and confronting our true thoughts and feelings rather than ignoring them.
There are forms of oppression and domination which become invisible — the new normal. -Michel Foucault
When writing becomes the bad guy, it’s time to step back and change your mindset. Remember why you write. Find another way to write. Find another way to tackle the problem. Just don’t let the act of conscious writing become your villain.
You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. ― Octavia E. Butler
Writing can feel daunting. I have been feeling the weight of editing this past week. There were some tears and frustration. I wasn’t ready to quit, but I was beginning to doubt myself as a writer. There’s no room for doubt in writing. I reminded myself, I am where I am from hard work and determination. I had that mindset before I started writing, and I’ll have it till I die because it’s in my blood. Knowing this gave me no other option than to look for another way to tackle the problem. But that meant, I had to wait it out. I had to wait and trust my inner writer and let me tell you, that wasn’t easy. For me, waiting at a red light is fine. I don’t even mind bad traffic as long as I’ll still be on time, but waiting on my inner writer while I have bills to pay, that is tough stuff. I still tackled the novel. I still edited and reread the story to stay connected. Then I walked around the house, talked to myself, and finally realized half of my work had to be deleted. Which is good. Now I have solid ground to build from.
So, what does all this mean? You have to trust that your story will find a place in this world. Allow these moments of waiting to be moments of rest. Drink your go-to beverage and enjoy the journey. This writing job is the place where you should not be turned into a robot. Writing is a place where you let it all hang out in its own natural and restful glory.
Stay strong writers. We’re going to finish these stories.
Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” ― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
This will be a collection of lessons I’ve learned on the way. They were initially written for my past self but I need to hear them now too. The point of these writings are for encouragement and guidance to those who write for the purpose of internal growth and understanding with the intention of unconditional love.
As Conscious writers we intentionally feel everything in a world where feelings are considered inappropriate. This act isn’t sunshine and cupcakes, but as conscious writers we know that taking the time to feel is better than the numbness that comes from flight. We dig. We listen. We rise.
We know that we may seem different and soft in a world where normal and tough is what’s expected. We aren’t your typical writer, and yet in so many ways we are just the same. There’s a place for us on this journey where our differences are exactly what we need to finish our story. We grow to accept that we won’t always be accepted.
Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.
We are shunned from certain circles when we question authority. It’s not always the authority figure that shuns us. Often times, the authority figure is excited to finally have someone aware enough to engage. It’s usually others in the group that shun the question asker, as if questioning behavior is uncouth. We question anyways, with or without fear because we need those answers to write the truth in our stories. We peek our nose where it doesn’t belong and question the things everyone else is too busy or too ashamed to question. We are the curious cats stubborn against conformity.
The worst curse to befall anyone is stagnation, a banal existence, the quiet desperation that comes out of a need for conformity. — Deepak Chopra
We are taught to keep our heads down and be like everybody else, but that’s where conscious writers are different. We write to capture all of ourselves. All the intricacies and inner workings. We will watch this story unfold with our head up and our eyes wide open until the very end.
We are on a journey and our writing is proof we’re still alive. In poetic terms, each page is an exhale.
“Attachment constrains our vision so that we are not able to see things from a wider perspective.” Dalai Lama
As a conscious writer, it’s important to be able to let a story go. It starts during creation, even though you shouldn’t think too much about what to get rid of while in the creation process. Sometimes we really want something in a story that doesn’t fit no matter how much we want it there. Then, there’s editing that’s basically deleting everything you just wrote or a good portion of it anyways. And then, there’s editing from other’s perspectives. And last but not least the final product is bringing it out of hiding and letting it go free into the world.
“You only lose what you cling to.” Buddha
This is why learning to let go is important. If you hang on to things that are no longer useful for your story, it’s going to detract from the meaning and power behind your words, behind your life’s work. Same with hanging on to anything else. If you want your work to be powerful, you’re going to have to let things go.
The best way to let go while feeling everything is learning to have healthy attachments. A good reminder is that none of this is truly our own. Not the people in our lives and not our art. They don’t belong to us. They are meant for their own purposes and their own lives. That is the best start to developing healthy attachments. (Another way of saying it is non attachment.)
“It is a sign of great character and strength to be able to lose your attachment to anyone or anything that isn’t good for.” Anonymous
Knowing that you need to let go is one thing but actually letting go is an entirely different thing. In my experience, the one thing that has helped me let go is learning to trust my inner writer. Trusting your inner writer can take time and practice. So we talked about letting go, now, let’s talk about how and why you should start learning to trust your inner writer.
I must admit, pacing myself is my weakness. I like face paced. I like writing the way I think so often times my writing is jagged. I skip over important details and jump right in. Pacing your story and yourself in real life is important. It’s not all about balance like they say, it’s about knowing when to speed up and when to slow down.
Knowing where your story is going helps pace your writing. I always have to remember my characters are not rushing to a finish line, they are living. They need to know where they are, what they’re thinking, what time it is, and who they’re currently not in love with. The reader doesn’t need to know these things and certainly not all at once like an info dump. These are the things that go in a journal or jotted down in the margin.
Keeping note of all your ideas also helps to stay focused on details so that you can find different ways to play with the pace. I use google docs and I also handwrite my notes to try and stay on track. (It’s too easy to get off track. Our brains are unreliable so write it down).
I tend to rush through intense scenes. I just want to get it over with so the anxiety I’m feeling can go away. It’s hard for me to enjoy writing intense situations, so I don’t write them or even deal with them if I don’t have to in real life. I avoid them whenever I can. I know I haven’t always been like this, but I’m not sure when I changed. Guess I should get my journal out.
My plan is to hack away at the story in layers and small doses. I’m taking the story apart scene by scene and really diving in.
Wish me luck.
As you can see, I’m still learning this; I’ll have to come back with an updated post on pacing myself and how I solved that problem. How do you pace yourself?
First, regardless of how you feel, I want you to accept that you are at the peak of your mountain right now. Sit down and enjoy the view. In other words, appreciate the fruits of your labor. As a conscious writer, you are not just writing but also changing who you are for the better.
You appreciate your lover within.
You’ve taken this year to learn and accept the parts of you that have either been hidden or unloved. You can look in the mirror now and adore so much more of you. You can hold more of yourself as worthy and loved. After years of being shown how small you are, after years of listening to how unlovable you are, you’ve decided to let those negativities fall away. Those negativities were parts of you that you held close, those are parts of you that you called love and you have learned to let go of them.
You know you are both successful and still growing simultaneously.
Growth is a lifetime adventure. There are things you have mastered at one point in your life that you may need to relearn while in a different season. There are things you have yet to master. Some people mastered things you may have never had trouble with accepting. Some people can do things you have yet to understand.
You’re not like others while being exactly like others.
The paradox of being the same but different. In some ways, we are like those around us and in other ways, our choices and values make us different.
You’ve found ways to enjoy doing the things you dislike doing.
For example, getting out of bed and writing even when you’re tired. Resting when you think you should be working harder. Cleaning when you’ve been up all-night writing. Taking time to make a healthy meal when you’re so exhausted because you know your writing is better when you’re healthy. These are just a few things and they can be vastly different for everyone.
You’ve learned to have healthy attachments.
This one is so strange in today’s world for some reason codependency is admired and cultivated. Especially for moms. We are taught that mothering should come at the sacrifice of our dreams but that just isn’t true. Friendships are expected to be ride or die and show up even when you have nothing left to give. These ideas create very unhealthy attachments. It’s important to keep dreaming as a mom and it’s important to be able to say when you just don’t have it in you support someone. The same is true that it’s important to learn to ask for and accept whatever answer you’re given.
You allow yourself to rest.
In this world we are pushed and pushed and pushed until we are so tired, we become robotic and inhuman. Our conscience dies. Our dreams die. Our creativity turns to rage, impatience, intolerance, and animalistic impulses. We forget who we are. In this world, it is a rebellious act to rest. It’s offensive to take mental health days but we’ve learned to stand and say, “I need to rest and that’s ok.”
You’ve learned to let go and embrace uncertainty.
No matter how much planning, you know things may not go how you want them to. The more you try to control things the more you have realized you’re not in control.
Look at how far you’ve come with keeping your commitments, self-discipline, and acceptance for yourself and those around you. These are amazing things to appreciate. Many other people don’t have the awareness to appreciate the value of these accomplishments. You, however, have worked to be able to see these things. You should be proud of yourself.
One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Friedrich Nietzsche
There are going to be times of feeling completely lost. Like you’re in a room without even a sliver of light. Or that moment when the lights go dim and our eyes are still adjusting. It doesn’t feel good at all. These moments lack certainty. In these moments of complete darkness, our only option is to first surrender to it. You could fight but it would be a waste of energy to react hastily or it could cause more problems than need be.
Remember why you’re writing. Why did you take the path of being a conscious writer? Then write. Doesn’t matter what it’s about, just write something. This moment of separation from your larger vision is precisely that, a moment. It will pass.
Ride on discipline or the intention of developing your discipline. These moments in the fog, motivation falls into the background. Being tired and overwhelmed can make this journey feel impossible or too big for us to handle but those are just feelings. You are strong and you are capable.
Remember that this is bigger than us. This entire thing doesn’t rest on your shoulders. There are many of us taking a similar path. There are many of us shouldering the weight of honesty. The point of saying this it to remind you that you are not alone. It’s important to be aware that your story is unique. Your contribution is imperative and since your work is this important, we need you to work in a way that will keep you moving forward and keep your head in the game.
There has been a need for conscious writers throughout history. Storytellers hold the keys of history, culture, evolution, wisdom, universal ideas, and finding joy in times of distress. You are on the right path. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. There is no story too big for you to grasp. Keep carving.
The great thing about writing you’re own stories is that we have a good idea about what is going to happen. What can be interesting is when we have to leave our stories and gain that sense of powerlessness when we enter into someone else’s story
There’s two aspects to this, one is when we actually engage in someone else’s art. We give our sense of control over to the creator. It’s a mutual agreement between creator and viewer. This aspect provides more of an escape. It’s letting someone else take the wheel of perspective for a moment. It’s liberating and entertaining.
Then the other aspect is in reality when we have to accept that others might make choices we don’t agree with. This isn’t always a mutual agreement. Sometimes the repercussion for some else’s actions are thrust upon you, and there’s nothing you can do about them. The thing you can control is your own thoughts and actions.
We can’t ever be completely powerless while we are alive and conscious. We can think. We can strategize. We can chose to stay completely unaffected or lash out. We could even think up entirely new situations in our heads and prefer to engage with those ones over reality. We have options. Some choices are better than others but we have them.
The great thing about learning to accept powerlessness as a conscious writer is you get to see things from a different perspective than your own. You can use these moments as tools to understand why someone would do something you can’t imagine yourself doing. Good and bad situations. It’s great practice for character building
Which leads to, the next thought. Learning to take note of how you feel in moments of powerlessness. Try to stay aware of how you’re feeling when someone’s consequences are thrust on you. This can be a profound experience when you listen and question the thoughts racing through your mind. This is where the great characters live.
Honesty is not found in revealing the truth, but in understanding how deeply afraid of it we are. To become honest is in effect to become fully and robustly incarnated into powerlessness.
I’m am here. I will always be here forever and always. I will learn and know each and every part of you and help you bloom into the person that you were always meant to be. No matter what choice you make, no matter how many times you fail, I will be near you. Some choices or things you do, may disappoint me or make me cry. They may make me proud and brighten up my day. Either way, I’ll still need your existence. I’ll still seek you out.
I know your past. I know your thoughts. I know your true purpose. Who you’re going to be isn’t set in stone, until you show me with your actions. The calculated ones, the impulsive ones, the mindless ones. They define you, they take you to who you’re going to be. Show me who you are. Show me with your actions what is in your heart and that’ll make sure you become who you’re destined to be. That will make sure you meet yourself exactly where you’re meant to be.
It doesn’t matter how strong you are, or how smart, or what gifts and talents you were given. All that matters, is when I throw you into a situation, that you be authentically you. I do hope you learn that these situations are molding you into the person you were destined to be, but hear me out, you can act like the person who you want to become. The trick is to be that person in detail. Now, when I say the person you want to become, I mean you aren’t stuck in your flawed or limited behaviors. I mean, if you want to be a writer, then you must be writing. Be writing when the dragons and fairies and handsome princes come barging into your door. I say this because regardless of your true purpose and of your past, and of your thoughts, if you were writing in the darkest and brightest moments of your existence, what are you then, other than a writer in the midst of living.
And if there is ever a moment you feel you are without purpose, I can promise you, you were not brought into existence without purpose. Not for one moment.
With so much love and gratitude,
P.S. I can’t explain all the bad things that happen in my own world, but I can give you life that’s worth living. Realize that your life is a gift to me.
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” — Abraham Maslow
We get wrapped up. At least I do. The story eats away at me. I forget what it feels like to just be in reality for a few hours. I obsess my characters and the words and the genre. I could spend hours editing my book and not even notice I’m still editing when I put my computer away.
They say stay drunk on writing, and that’s a fabulous idea when you have the lifestyle to do so. So I have to make time when I’m present in my house in all aspects, not just in body. I need to have my mind right here next to me, in the present.
“Always hold fast to the present. Every situation, indeed every moment, is of infinite value, for it is the representative of a whole eternity.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I am overwhelmed from editing. I am frustrated with my lack of solitude, right now. So I spent a couple hours today being present. Not being focused on my book. Not planning things to do for it or my writing. I just floated around the house laughing with my family, playing on my phone, and thinking about Hannibal. I even took one of those long showers. Yup, my skin’s silky smooth right now. (Stay at home mama’s you know what I’m talking about).
So, as Conscious writers I think it’s important to be intentional about being present outside of your writing. It’s great to jot down ideas when they come but enjoy your life. I read something saying that we write to live not the other way around. Your writing should accentuate your life, not drag it down. Enjoy your family. Enjoy other creative’s works. It’s ok
We get the guilt. Like, if we’re not writing or thinking about writing, we’re not working hard enough. I think the “you should be writing” memes are funny. I laugh and I share them because we do get haunted by our work. We do get overwhelmed by our need to finish. A little anxiety to get a job done is important, but it shouldn’t deprive you from being fully present when you’re not writing. At least not to the point of guilt and shame.
If you are writing and/or editing everyday you are investing. If you’re writing when the house is asleep, that’s huge. Seriously. Allow yourself the freedom to be fully immersed in your day so you can come back to your writing with fresh eyes and a full heart.
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” — Mother Teresa