Here I find myself again hoping to share more thoughts on writing with you. I have to admit, despite my best intentions to use this occasionally as a free-writing space, it’s much easier said than done! Sharing what I’m writing from a work in progress place has been hard for me. So I’m back in here working to open that little window a little further. To start trying to be more comfortable this way with you. Today as I sat down, I decided to share more about the latest creative endeavor I’ve been working on.
If you saw my first On Writing mini-series post, you know that I’ve taken a variety of online writing courses lately. All of them have been through the Exhale creativity community. I have found myself inspired in so many ways – by the assignments, writing prompts, the other incredibly talented participants. The group leaders, the support of the community, and the content included in these courses have all had a powerful impact on me in this new chapter of redefining myself.
I’m going to be completely honest with you now.
I started this post several different times and kept trying to wrangle the flow and direction of my thoughts. At one point I even spiraled off on a thread of another story about religion and spirituality and my childhood. I actually thought it was pretty interesting and decided I’m going to try and write another post about it. But all that considered, that is exactly the opposite of what I’m trying to do here. Sure, that post might turn out to be great. Some day. But the point is to share something now. To show up today. To be raw and vulnerable and unedited!
When I sit down to free-write, I have a really hard time reigning in my thoughts and ideas into any semblance of straightforward expression. On one hand, it’s a good problem to have (lots to write about!). But on the other, it makes for some whip-lash-inducing writing. It definitely feels like a roadblock for my creativity. My ideas get too expansive, too overwhelming. I’m going to have to spend some time managing my own expectations surrounding it. I want to write. I have a s*** ton of stories brewing inside me. But most days they feel like too much. And when I try to reign them in by focusing on specific parts, I feel like I’m never doing the story justice.
Anyway, I think part of my hang up is seriously tackling things on a smaller scale.
I’ve recently discovered this to be a common theme of my personality. I get overwhelmed when things feel too big and the feelings become paralyzing. This is 100% me with the chaotic mess of my bedroom these days. It sounds like a ridiculous comparison. But once I put two-and-two together, it’s crazy how similar my feeling are about them. It’s like I can’t just organize one part of the bedroom. I don’t have enough uninterrupted time to tackle the whole thing. Much less muster the enthusiasm to even try bc it’s such a big task!
Every time I make any progress at all (like clearing a corner) – the next pile of crap that needs a dumping spot gets tossed there. Think new pile of clean laundry that hasn’t been folded yet. Or my suitcase that I still need to unpack from my trip a few weekends ago. I feel like this is a good analogy to my writing in this particular sense. My brain wants to process the WHOLE story – like it wants to tackle the WHOLE bedroom chaos. I want to isolate one part to work on. But it’s sooo hard and unpacking the whole thing emotionally is huge!
So I’m working on starting smaller.
Using my word of the year (FOCUS) to keep my brain from trying to spiral to allll the things. I have decided to participate in a 40-day writing challenge for Lent this year. I picked up this great guided resource by Callie Feyen in the Exhale Creative Marketplace. There are 40 days worth of creative prompts, each one-word and focusing on writing the everyday moments of life.
“At the end of February through most of April, I feel a recklessness and a boredom and a belligerence swirling inside of me. It is exhausting, but this year, instead of trying to fight it, I wondered if I could instead feel thrilled by these feelings that stir me. What if I took a seemingly small, everyday occurrence (something I see, something I do, something I say), and tried to find a story for it? Forty Day of Writing the Everyday is a creative endeavor designed to help us reclaim our days, and find the thrill in them, or, perhaps if that is taking it too far, feel content with creating something from our everyday lives.”Callie Feyen
I love what Callie has to say about the swirling of all the things and how exhausting it can be. I’ve been there (today even!). I’m looking forward to seeing how this practice can creatively inspire me. Help me reign in the overwhelm and possibly helps me get more comfortable in writing from a more simple place. Hopefully it will help me refine some writing habits I’ve been working hard to stay motivated toward. And who knows, maybe I’ll even find the motivation to tackle my bedroom next!