Writing is therapy. It allows us to deal with our emotions and situations that are difficult to deal with in any other way. I write poetry to deal with depression, frustration, and anger. I write prose to let my thoughts run free without any constraints. It’s liberating. And, if it gets me published some day, then good for me. Writing can serve a multitude of purposes. It can get your ideas across to others. It can make people laugh, cry, think, learn, and see other viewpoints that are different than their own. It can raise awareness or hide the truth. It’s a multipurpose tool. It can be used for good or evil. It can change the world or it can be pure entertainment. So if someone tells you that you’re wasting your time when you write, tell them that you are most definitely not wasting your time. And then, sit down and write something that proves it to them!
Only we know what works for us. We read books on writing that have all kinds of tips to make the process easier, things we should and shouldn’t do if we want to succeed, how to up our word count, etc…. Some of the advice is pure gold but, as I said yesterday, not all of it will work for us. There’s nothing wrong with cherry-picking the things that do work for us and leaving the rest behind. And something that works for me might not work for you so try it and if it works, great. If it doesn’t, then forget about it. Just because a famous author wrote it doesn’t mean that we have to do it. What works for Stephen King might not work for Neil Gaiman. Writers are individuals so our process has to be individualized. There isn’t anything in the world that works for everyone across the board. So, read all the books you desire to read and pick and choose what works. It’s like our own recipe for writing success. A pinch of that, a cup of this, and a scoop of that. Mix it together and write your heart out!
It seems that every single time that we try to make changes in our life we fall short of the results that we hope to make happen. We read self-help books, watch self-help YouTube videos, etc…, and we might make a bit of progress but never as much as we had hoped. I don’t believe that the “problem” is us…it’s that we are trying to force ourselves into a box that someone else made to fit a large number of people. We don’t fit into anyone’s box. We are individuals and there is absolutely no box anywhere that fits us. So stay away from boxes. If someone promises that they can “fix” us, they are lying or at least exaggerating. Besides, we are not broken. We do not need to be fixed by anyone. Anything that we can possibly desire to be or accomplish, we are capable of making it happen. We might need some encouragement or a little assistance from others but that is all. So, forget about all of the self-help things that you’ve tried in the past that didn’t work. You were not a failure. You were failed by people promising you that they had all the answers. So, just trust your gut. You know what you want and somewhere inside you, you know how to get it. Believe in yourself.
I think that we’ve become so used to living our current lives that we can’t fully comprehend a different type of life….the life that we actually long for deep within ourselves. So, if you’re like me, sometimes you subconsciously sabotage yourself because there’s some fear of the unknown. Our life is on a path that we’re comfortable walking down and the life that lies off of that path is difficult to conceive. Maybe there’s a fear of failure or maybe even success. I tend to procrastinate and even though I want to be a published author more than I can even express, I find one thing after another with which to waste my time. I still, to this day, don’t know why that is. I wonder if they have therapists that deal with conflicted creatives? I have wondered over the years if this is a common problem amongst us and, if it is…why? Unlike so many people, we know what our life’s dream is but we won’t let ourselves reach it. We put other things, other people, other interests, etc…, ahead of that dream. I think that we really need to do some soul searching and find out why that is. And we can’t stop until we get the answer because it’s standing in the way of us becoming what we truly desire to be. Just some random thoughts.
Sometimes the dreams that we have at night can’t even begin to compare to our waking dreams. I prefer the term waking dream to daydream. Not sure why. I just do. These dreams are the gateway to our reality. But how do we do that…move from the dream to the reality? Well, first we take that dream and internalize every single detail…the spoken words, the music and/or other sounds, the surroundings, the words you typed, the thoughts you had, the colors in your world, the weather…everything down to the tiniest detail. Second, write it all down and read it to yourself every single day. Meditate on it. Lie back in a hot bath, close your eyes, and let it seep into your pores. Fall asleep while thinking about it. Never. Let. It. Leave. Your. Conscious. Or. Subconscious. Mind. That’s the key. Hold onto the dream like it’s a memory of things you’ve already accomplished. Make a vision board or even boards. You can find a picture online of anything that you can possibly imagine…start Googling your new reality and find the images to put on your board. So now you can see it, think it, meditate on it, and internalize it in all those different ways. Make it real in every way possible. Make it so real that when it happens, you will have a sense of deja vu. This is my plan for my impending reality. I hope that you can find something useful in this post that helps you out. Pick and choose what you think will help you. Just let me know how it works for you and I’ll let you know how it works for me.
When I say “suspending belief” I am talking about suspending belief in all the things we erroneously believe about ourselves. Things like we’re no good at creating, we have no original ideas, we’ll never finish anything (ever), we can’t come up with anything that anyone else would like, etc…. We are capable of so much more than we can even imagine. So we have to imagine just a bit harder to realize our full potential. We are amazing and capable of anything and everything that we can possibly imagine. We just have to allow ourselves to imagine these things and then go for it. Put all our effort into being the people that we know we are. There is already a part of us that knows these things. We just have to access it. We have to stop judging ourselves and our abilities and just start doing our thing. And not stop until we believe in ourselves, our talent, and our abilities. No one can stop up us but us. So don’t let that happen. We have to stop being our own worst enemy. We can do this!
I have made so many good friends over the last 6+ months thru SWW, ROW, and the New Year’s Revolution ReTREAT. These are people with whom I have so much in common. It has been a long time since I’ve had that in my life. Aside from my very best friend, I’ve never really had many friends that had the same creative bent that I did but the ones that I did have were creative in so many different ways…dancing, writing music, playing instruments, drawing, painting…but no one was into writing. So we could talk about creativity in general terms but not about writing specifically. But creative people, no matter their creative discipline, understand each other. We know what it’s like to struggle to create, what it feels like to have created something that we’re proud of, to have the excruciating feeling that we failed in our attempt, and all of the other frustrations, exaltations, and struggles. There are many types of creativity but not all of them have to do specifically with the arts. To be a good businessperson, you have to be creative. To be a teacher, you have to be creative. To be a parent, you have to be creative. To just be alive, you have to be creative. But no matter how creative these people are in their lives and careers, they are usually not able to understand what I am going through when I struggle to write. They can’t commiserate with me when a character isn’t working or I can’t repair a plot hole. Well, they can but they won’t understand exactly what I’m feeling. There’s just something about being able to talk to someone that has gone through the same exact thing and can offer advice. or a shoulder to cry on. I didn’t really know what I was missing by having a whole tribe of artistically creative people. It makes such a huge difference in my life. And being able to share anything and everything creative with them is beyond awesome. As I’ve said before…everyone needs a tribe. If you don’t currently have one, reach out to others and form your own. It is so important and so worth the effort. I promise.
Everyone has the potential to be whoever and whatever they desire to be. The catch is that we have to work for it. We can’t just sit here and dream about it and hope that it happens…we have to actively pursue it. I know that there are a very lucky few who have their desires just happen serendipitously. But that is extremely rare. 99.9% of us have to get up every single morning and actually make it happen. And sometimes, unfortunately, no matter how hard we work at it, the dreams just don’t come true. And when that happens, we blame ourselves, others, the Fates, and anyone/anything else we can think of that might have played even the tiniest role in the non-manifestation of our dream. That’s normal but we can’t just stop there and decide that since it didn’t happen this time, for this dream that it will never happen…that we’re unworthy, untalented, not driven enough, unlucky, doomed, etc…. We have to pick ourselves up and figure out what happened. We are only doomed if we accept that fate. Maybe we put our trust in the wrong person or our timing was just a bit off or our approach was wrong. And, yes, maybe we do need to do a little more editing or rewrite our synopsis so that it really will grab the right person’s attention. We have to analyze everything…including ourselves…that brought us to this moment. First, get rid of the “I’m a total failure” attitude. It will not serve you well and you know this. Look at this as a temporary setback and a wake-up call. Second, take a hard look at your efforts to make your dream a reality. Was it really your best effort or does it need some work? Could you have used a different approach? And so on. Third, based on the answers to the questions in the second step, correct your course. Find your own North Star that will keep you on course until you end up exactly where you want to be. Just be aware that sometimes there will be deviations to the best-plotted course…and that isn’t a bad thing. Maybe your dream is to have your book published by one of the big-name publishing houses but your manuscript is either rejected or ends up in the slush pile. You begin to submit to other publishing houses that are less well known but are eager to find the next Stephen King or George R.R. Martin so they actually read your submittals and make an offer. Or someone convinces you that e-publishing your masterpiece is the way to go so you do that. What you don’t consider when doing either of those things, which you consider to be falling short of your actual dream, is that you’re getting your name out there. There are authors that began their career by e-publishing their books and were then “discovered” by a publishing house. You can’t let circumstances stop you from moving forward. You can’t look at every single deviation as falling short. Sometimes you just have to allow your dream to become…something, anything. Let it take shape without micromanaging every minute detail. Just drift for a while and see what happens. But don’t give up on it. You have to do everything that you possibly can to realize your dream. Don’t waste a perfectly good dream by just quitting. You really do have the power to make your dream a reality.
I actually feel much better today. I went home yesterday evening and just crashed. I apparently slept well…maybe even had some REM time in there…because I feel alert and somewhat rested. I haven’t felt this way in a while. It’s so difficult just trying to function and even think when you are completely exhausted. Every single thing that you do is a struggle…like swimming against a strong current. No matter how hard you try, you get absolutely nowhere. Your brain doesn’t function the way it should. You can’t remember things or concentrate. Everything is foggy. And your body just wants to shut down but you have to fight it just to get through the day. The exhaustion I’ve been feeling is so very much like what I felt years ago when I had chronic insomnia and was lucky to sleep an hour or two a night even though I’ve been going to bed at a decent hour, seem to sleep through the night since I don’t recall waking up…even though I apparently do since I take out my oral appliance and put it in the case…and I wake up at my normal time…completely and utterly exhausted. My poor neurologist. Every single time he fixes one problem another one springs up. My husband likes to joke that I definitely get my money’s worth out of my doctors and that I really make them earn every penny. I currently have a PCP (who is also a hepatologist), neurologist, retina specialist, orthopedist, rheumatologist, and cardiovascular surgeon on the payroll and I have stumped them all at one point or another. When you’re dealing with so many different health problems, it’s sometimes difficult to make yourself write even though you want nothing more than to sit in front of your laptop and let the words just pour out of you. Sometimes I think about how unfair it is that this is my reality. Then I think about people like Stephen Hawking who accomplished so much while being trapped inside his ALS ravaged body. And Helen Keller who overcame so much and became such an inspiration to so many. Those are just two of thousands of people who have not just overcome adversity but soared in spite of it. So how can I feel sorry for myself and whine about not feeling like writing? No, it’s not really fair that I have all the health issues that I do but, as it’s been pointed out so many time, life is not fair. Even the people that seem to have it all and who don’t appear to have to struggle to achieve their dreams have their problems. They achieve what they do in spite of them. You’re only as incapable of achieving these things as you allow yourself to believe that you are. I’m not saying that we don’t have to stop and practice self-care because we definitely do. Last night I had no choice but to go home and crash but tonight, I really do have a choice since I am feeling so much better. And if I don’t choose to use it wisely, then it’s not my physical issues that are stopping me…it’s just me. And that’s not a good reason at all.
I feel completely and utterly exhausted. It doesn’t matter how much sleep I get, I still wake up feeling less rested than I did before I went to bed. I’ve been through this before when I had straight up insomnia however I am currently sleeping at night…or so it seems. I sleep with an oral appliance that helps with my mild sleep apnea but I have been waking up with it removed and either back in its case or in my hand. When I had my sleep study earlier this month, they found that my sleep apnea, even with the oral appliance in use, had gotten slightly worse so that could have added to my daytime sleepiness. But they also found that during the study, I did not enter REM sleep even once during the night. And now that I’m removing my oral appliance at some point during the night…with absolutely no memory of it…I suppose that is pushing me over the edge exhaustion-wise. And, if for whatever reason, I’m not getting any REM sleep even though I stopped taking a medication that can keep you from getting REM sleep, I’m in trouble. This morning, I was barely functional. Usually, after my narcolepsy medication kicks in, I feel more alert but not today. I’ve had a lot of coffee and strong tea with no effect. So, tomorrow, I will be calling my neurologist to tell him, or his PA, about my increasing exhaustion and removing my oral appliance in my sleep and asking them to please find a solution. Fast. At one point, I did have a CPAP machine and after about six months I began to do the same thing…remove it in my sleep. I’d wake up and would find that I had removed the mask and headgear, placed it on top of the machine, and turned the CPAP machine off. All in my sleep with no memory of it. So, I don’t know what the solution will be since I obviously can and will remove it. All I do know is that I’m pretty sure that when I get off of work, I am going to go home and pass out. And I hate that because we have an SWW call tonight but sometimes self-care comes first.