“For a workaholic, work is synonymous with worth…(p 168).”
Something I constantly deal with is my self-imposed workaholism. Because I don’t work outside the home, I do feel a constant need to be productive, to “prove my worth.” Even sitting down to watch TV while I eat lunch feels lazy, and I feel guilty about it. I sit down to write, but I’m constantly thinking of other things that need to be done around the house. Even now, writing this, I’m having an internal battle. I need to clean the bathrooms – the toilets have rings in them. I need to water the plants in the backyard. I need to do dishes, get started on dinner, do laundry. If I let myself do all the things that need to be done, I’d never get any writing done. Housework is part of my job. Childcare is part of my job. And, at the same time, being creative is part of my job. So yes, I still work in the evenings during family time, and on weekends, and on vacation, and do it when I’m sick. Weekdays and weekends, days and nights, they’re all interchangable. I have been trying to treat writing as part of my job, so it’s also part of my workaholism. So the workaholism quiz is difficult, because there are no office hours, work is already home with me (I don’t take it home from the office), I take work on vacation because of the nature of the work.
The thing is, I don’t think I reach for my creative block (work) because I see a creative breakthrough. I feel like I do it because I don’t see a creative breakthrough. Like, I’ve been struggling to figure out where my story is going, and I’m going in circles in my head, and out of despair that I’ll never find the answer – not fear that I will – I decide to scrub the bathroom floor. Still, I will try to pay more attention and “ride out the anxiety” next time I notice it. Maybe it’s there, I just haven’t paid attention. Try using the anxiety instead of turning away from it.
“As artists, we cannot afford to think about who is getting ahead of us and how they don’t deserve it (p 173).”
If I get nothing else out of this book, the idea of audacity will always stay with me. I’ve been guilty of wondering how some authors, some stories, get published, when I truly believe what I’ve written is better. The answer is simple: (a) they had the audacity to seek publication, and (b) I have hidden my stuff away/not finished anything. Why do they deserve to get ahead? Because they did it. I’ve never thought “Why them instead of me?” I have thought, “If they can do it, why can’t I?”
“The spirit of competition – as opposed to the spirit of creation – often urges us to quickly winnow out whatever doesn’t seem like a winning idea (p 174).” Yet another reason I’ve all but stopped reading writing blogs. “Vampires are out.” “You can’t write like that.” “You must do this.” My #1 rule has become this – write what you want to write. Write the story you have in you. Someone will be interested in it. And if no one else is, at least you are.
We had a discussion at a recent writing group meeting, and the idea of “writing what’s popular” came up. I said, and others agreed, “You put two books side by side. One author is writing what sells. The other is writing the story they have inside of them. I can tell you which is which.” Passion for your story shines through. Passion for money and fame does, too. It doesn’t make one better than the other, necessarily, but I do think you can tell when someone’s heart isn’t in the writing – and the writing is usually worse for it.
“Creativity is God Energy flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism. When we are clear about who we are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely and we experience no strain (p 163).” For some reason, while reading this, instead of thinking about writing, I thought about doing yoga. The calmness that flows through me. I need to get back to doing yoga.
“Blocked, we know who and what we are: unhappy people. Unblocked, we may be something much more threatening – happy. For most of us, happy is terrifying, unfamiliar, out of control, too risky (p 165).” Who are these people she’s talking about?! I love to be happy. I’ve never felt so good as having an accomplished day, and on the unhappy days is when I feel most out of control. Am I alone in this???
“During a drought, the mere act of showing up on the page, like the act of walking through a trackless desert, requires one footfall after another to no apparent point (p 170).” This is what they mean by Writers write, Butt in chair, etc. The only way to the other side is through it.
Argh. The Deadlies task drove me nuts. I drew food four times. Seriously, I went OFF the last time I pulled it. How the hell was I supposed to come up with five MORE ways food has a negative impact on my life? I’d already come up with 15. One of which was, “Making food makes me have to do more dishes.” I mean, seriously, how many more could I come up with? I went on a curse-fueled rant, where I may have used a particular word more than five times. 🙂
Checkin: Morning Pages – I actually did very well this week, 7 for 7. That may be a first! Artist Date – A long bath while watching iZombie and drinking a glass of wine. Would have been two glasses if my husband had seen my text message to bring me a refill…. Synchronicity – I haven’t had a “girl’s night” in forever. One evening this week I took a class, and afterwards my friend, exhausted with parenting for the day, invited me for a drink. We met up, had a beer, and I felt a little like my old self. It was a nice reminder. A break from my workaholism!
Up Next, The Artist’s Way Week 11: Recovering a Sense of Autonomy