How is your writing this week? I had two great days off that were filled with writing and working on my craft. I believe that if you write every day even for five minutes you are connecting with your creativity. I know that I need to be with my creativity every day, in some way, be it for five, ten, fifteen minutes, I know myself and I need to be writing to maintain my sanity. If I’m not writing then I notice I’m avoiding things and then the skepticism trickles in. Something that Julia Cameron calls; The secret doubt.
The secret doubt. It does not seem to mater whether we are officially believers or agnostics. We have our doubts about all of this creator/creativity stuff, and those doubts are very powerful. Unless we are them, they can sabotage us. Many times, in trying to be good sports we stuff our feelings of doubt. We need to stop doing that and explore them instead.
I was having lunch with a writer friend, she writes amazing poetry, and I was explaining to her that sometimes, more times than none, I find it much easier to say what I need to say, or what I want to express onto the page, than sharing it verbally. I find it very difficult to express myself verbally, I find it stressful that I can not think as quickly to what I want to say as I do on the page. She said she understood, and she expressed that she struggles with getting to the page and every word is a struggle for her to put down on the page. I would find that extremely painful, not to be able to write what I am feeling, thinking, what I have swirling around, the characters that want to tell a story, I just sit down and write. That is what I love about my creative process, just being able to do what comes naturally, effortless, it does not feel like work, it feels like joy. I trust the universe and my creativity. What I don’t trust is myself, the ego that self attacks and I am aware when that is happening, but there are times that I still struggle. Julia talks about skepticism and I laugh when I read this because it is so ego related in the sense that we “think” too much.
Boiled down to their essentials, the doubts go something like this: “Okay, so I started writing the morning pages, and I seem more awake and alert in my life. So what? It’s just a coincidence…Okay, so now I am beginning to notice that the more I let myself explore the possibility of their being some power for good, the more I notice lucky coincidences turning up in my life. So what? I can’t believe I am really being led. That’s just too weird…”
Some weeks I will write one of the creative affirmations from The Artist’s Way:
As I create and listen, I will be led.
This affirmation got me through a lot of self-attack talks and I just believed it, I believed that I was being led as I created and listened, and guess what? I was. I would start to write about a certain topic, or have an idea and then I would be directed to a book, a magazine, a pod cast that was about the very thing I was writing about and had a question. I was being led. Now I write:
As I create and listen, I am being led.
Calliope – muse of epic poetry
I have to be honest. Lately I haven’t been paying as much attention to my muse. I get the concept of my affirmation, but I think there are times that I am writing it out of habit and don’t fully believe it. See how easy self-attack talk rushes into the mind? It’s a terrible addiction to be thinking too much, I like how my guru puts it ‘Thinking is stinkin’ – It’s true, when I, we, think about something and dwell on it, that’s when we get into trouble with ourselves and others. The secret doubt comes to visit and doesn’t plan on leaving for quite some time. Well, I have to tell my secret doubt that there is no more rooms available and it’s time to go. I have to be my own cheerleader and yes sometimes it’s hard to cheer loudly over the doubt that doesn’t stop screaming.
Setting skepticism aside, even briefly, can make very interesting explorations. In creative recovery, it is not necessary that we change any of our beliefs. It is necessary that we examine them.
So I will be sitting down and doing something I find difficult, to examine the things that are not working in my writing life. The things that I know are blocking my process at times, for example; thinking I need to sit in front of the TV and watch another movie because it’s doing something rather than sitting here writing. Like with meditation, it’s about practice. I have to practice my writing schedule, I have to practice at working on my craft, I have to practice not having that second or third glass of wine after dinner and not write, because drinking and writing at the same time does not work – I have to practice to be focused and every day is a chance to practice, every moment is a chance to practice. I am grateful that I am practicing right now, sitting here with you, writing.
How do you practice your craft? How do are you working with your writing every day? What are the things you need to examine to shut off the secret doubt?
Until next time, keep on typing….