Between Have-To And Happiness

Bigger is not better.

I’ve decided this societal norm is not my norm.  In fact, believing this does me harm.

Here’s how my mind translates ‘bigger is better’.

If bigger is better, then I must always be reaching, and never be satisfied or celebrating where I am now.  I always have to be more, which really means I am never enough.

I am never enough.

Because of this belief pattern, I set out to do too much.  Today I’ll get this, this, and this completed for my book.  Then, I don’t.  I finish one or one-and-a-half.

Instead of celebrating what I have accomplished, I focus on what didn’t get done.  I tell myself off for not working hard enough, for being too distracted, for being too slow a writer.  I need to do better in order for others to appreciate me.

Funny, when I don’t even appreciate myself.

‘Not enough’ has been a pattern in my life since elementary school. It makes me sad to realize I am so unkind to myself, and that I’ve been doing it for so long I accept the unkindness as normal.

I would not do this to someone else.  Instead, I would praise them, be excited for what they have accomplished.  I’d encourage them to pause and enjoy it before setting off on the next step.

Why do I not say this to myself?

I have a lively life of which writing is a vital and essential part.  But writing is only one part of my life, and it’s the fullness and variety in my life that enrich my writing.

I am a slow writer.  I have days between working on my book, and each time I return to the book I bring with me new experiences and ideas, and a new understanding of myself.  I am a better writer because of all else in my life.  The balance of my life fills my well.

I trust my creative process. Even though I’ve been telling myself off for being too slow, I truly trust the process of my writing enough to create the book I am creating. 

Now I need to transfer the trust of my creativity and writing into knowing I am enough, and allow myself to enjoy my writing process in the midst of enjoying my life.

I am enough.

What Happened In November

 

cat-fink-what-gives-me-joy-nov-9-2016-books
What Gives Me Joy Nov 9 2016 (books)

It is November thirtieth.

On my studio work table is a stack of paper.  One hundred and thirteen pages.  It’s my Nanowrimo draft.

I finish writing on Monday, zipping past the 50,000 word goal by 469 words.  Hooray!  I have that magic purple bar that says WINNER shining on my Nanowrimo dashboard, and my winner certificate is taped to the studio wall.

I give myself Tuesday and Wednesday as reading days, since my reading time has been eaten by writing time all through November.  I love reading as much as writing, and I am noticing a certain inner grumpiness every time I walk past the books that are waiting for me.

Today I am thinking about the last four weeks.

Something unusual happened during my mass quantity of writing.

I enjoyed the process.  I rarely struggled.  I am amazed at this.  And I am wondering what I did differently this fourth time through Nanowrimo.

I’ve made it past the finish line all four times, so winning is not different.

Thing is, I feel like a different writer.

I am a different writer.  I am not fussing over my first draft.  I am not criticizing every word.  If I don’t have the exact right word or phrase, I pause for a bit.  If it does not come, I substitute something close to what I want and continue on.  I know I will come back later with the right fix.

This is not how I used to write.  I wrote slowly.  I struggled.  Things had to be perfect or near-perfect the first time through.  I was not taking in the meaning of ‘draft’.

What a relief this is.  I am no longer afraid of not getting my words right.

I have won something more than my Nanowrimo draft reaching 50,000 words.

I have won space for myself when I write.  I have space to explore, try something out, not like it, and change it.  I have space to get an idea down and find the right words later.  I have space to relax and breathe and enjoy the process of a first draft.  I have space to enjoy my imagination.

When I am being Artist rather than Writer, I work with the pastel in one hand and the eraser in the other.  I am constantly moving between one and the other, using the eraser as one of my drawing tools.  I have no difficulty editing my drawings.

I get it.  Here is the core of why I am a different writer.  I am finally comfortable using editing as one of my writing tools.  I am finally trusting my writing process and myself as a writer.  The words will come, if not on the first pass, then the second or third or fourth.

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In this post:

Nanowrimo  https://nanowrimo.org/