Two nights ago, I wasn't tired enough to go right to bed, so I picked up Elizabeth Gilbert's book, "Big Magic" (it's awesome. You should read it) and opened the chapter, "Do Something Else." Coincidence, Maybe. But it just so happens that I am currently in the process of doing something else, and that something else is this daily blog that I have dutifully committed to for the entire month of May. Oh my! I blame my oldest daughter and her incessant creativity and courage! Some of you know from my previous blog, "Go Ahead, Write Your Story," that I've been writing a book off and on for twenty years (more off than on.) And as of late, I have hit a wall or come up against what writers call, writer's block. I don't even know if that's an accurate statement to describe what is happening, but all I know is I have the desire to finish, but don't know where my story is headed. I've reached a fork in the road and need to make some big decisions. Decisions that will affect characters that I have grown to know and dearly love--so to just sit down and casually change up their lives to produce and outcome doesn't seem authentic to me, so here I am doing something else.
It may sound like this daily blog or my design inspired instagram feed (that I thoroughly enjoy) is an avoidance of some sort, but actually, like Gilbert mentions in her amazing book, it's the action of doing something else, anything creative that will open up more creativity and produce, well...Big Magic! And frankly, I'm ready for it!I love the idea of stepping away from something that maybe your ego is attached to, like my book for instance. I don't want to fail at it. You know? But here, on this blog, this is just pure fun and freedom and there is so much joy in freely being in action. Gilbert says, "If you can't do what you long to do, go do something else." And my favorite quote, "Inspiration will always be drawn to motion." Pictured above is a bumper sticker attached to my laptop, #doing things reminds me to not be idle!!
For months, I have been rooted in scenarios that have left me stuck and unable to even open up my manuscript. Thankful for my weekly writing group where we have twenty minute writing prompts that joyfully lull me out of my stooper for a short time, but when I pack up my laptop and return home to the blank screen, I'm left with the same dreaded question...What next?
Gilbert takes "advice from the seventeenth-century English scholar Robert Burton, on how to survive melancholy: 'Be not solitary, be not idle.' Find something to do--anything, even a different sort of creative work altogether--just to take your mind off your anxiety and pressure." I love the "not being idle" part. So here I am - not being idle.
Truth is, maybe I can't or don't want to finish my book, because I don't want it to be over. AHHH...there is truth in that and it feels good just saying it out loud. See? Doing something else led me straight to that little truth--I'm scared to be done.
Maybe after this month of daily blogging, I'll be ready to face the end of my book with a fierce confidence. Maybe by doing something else with my whole heart, I too will be struck by "Big Magic," and I'll have the courage to write, the end.
Are you creatively stuck right now? Have you been wanting to pursue something-anything that will inspire and ignite your soul? Sign up for a class at The Lab, The Twin Cities Writing Group, a jewelry class or a paint class. Be in action with me!! The reality is, it's not as scary as it seems.
P.S Are we Instagram friends? Follow @sweetshadylane for design inspiration and love!