Things I’m noticing while I write, list #1

I’m fascinated by the challenges creators face, which is why I coach creators. And I’m my own client — in fact, I’m the one client I’d better love working with, because I’m kinda stuck with me, for life. So every now and then I’m going to post some brief lists of things I’m noticing while I work on my novel draft. Just little tidbits that might spark you to say, hey, that’s true for me too. Or, hmm — that’s not true for me at all. Interesting.

Here’s today’s list.

1. When the writing feels really daunting, there’s only one thing to do: Write one sentence. Really. And there’s only one thing to do after that: write one sentence. I can go the whole way that way.

2. Sometimes, I worry I’ve gone in the wrong direction with a scene. But the problem isn’t that I’ve gone in the wrong direction. The problem is the worrying about it. I don’t have to worry. When I’m clear that it’s wrong enough, I will change it. That’s all I need to know.

3. Discomfort is okay. It’s not a sign I should stop, or that what I’m writing is terrible. It does mean I need to be extra-compassionate with myself in order to keep moving forward. Yes, my dear. This is hard. The fact that it’s hard doesn’t mean something is wrong.

4. I love the process. And I thank my lucky stars that I do. When I get very results-focused, I can forget that I write to begin with because I love it. Because it’s my particular way of expressing what I value, who I am. The process can be its own reward, even when I desire a certain outcome. Valuing, even relishing, the process does not mean I am giving up on results. It just means I get to be happy now, instead of then.

What are you noticing while you create? I’d love to hear from you.

Also: while I’m on the subject of writing, as I’ve mentioned previously, I’m both a participant and a coach for Jenna Avery’s Just Do the Writing Accountability Circle. Tomorrow, March 15, is the last day to sign up for the next session. If you’re having trouble committing to a daily writing habit, I highly recommend you check out this group! Click here to find out more.

And: I offer free Creativity Consultations. If you’re feeling stuck or scared and having a hard time moving forward on your creative project, check them out here.

There’s Enough Time. Really.

This week, I had quite a few conversations with creators around the idea of time. The general consensus seemed to be: There’s not enough. I have too much to do — which, by the way, I wish I’d done ten years ago — and there’s too little time in which to do it. Frequently when I hear people say this, I want to agree with them, so they know that I sympathize. “Oh, I know, isn’t it true? There’s just not enough. There’s too much to do. No wonder I can’t get to my (fill in the blank — novel, artwork, yoga, relationship).”

Here’s the thing, though: It’s not true that there isn’t enough. Whether we’re talking about time or money or love.

What we really mean when we say “There’s not enough time” is: I’m trying to outrun my painful thoughts about not accomplishing enough. I’ve got to hurry up. So let me add more and more to my to-do list, so I don’t see more evidence for what I haven’t accomplished. If I can get it ALL DONE, I’ll feel better.

Do you see how backwards this kind of thinking really is? (Because, fellow creators, it doesn’t come down to time — it comes down to our thinking. Always.) The thought “There isn’t enough” creates feelings of urgency, anxiety, sadness, regret. In a nutshell, fear. Then we take desperate, urgent, anxious actions based on these feelings. And no matter what results we get, they don’t feel like enough, because all of these results have, as their backdrop, the belief that there just isn’t enough. We’ve cycled right back into our original thought, and it all continues — no matter what we have, no matter what we’ve created, it isn’t enough, because our belief is that there isn’t enough.

Unless: We look at our thoughts about time. Is it true that there isn’t enough? How much time do I need to feel good about creating today? To feel good about anything today?

I’m going to suggest that the “time issue” is not about time at all. It’s really about our stressful thought that, at some point, our lives will be over and we won’t have done what we wanted to do with them. It’s really about our lack of self-acceptance, about the fact that we’re afraid to meet ourselves, to accept ourselves, exactly where we are. It’s about a belief that there’s a finish line we should have crossed years ago, and we haven’t even made our way to the starting gate.

What if we were to believe that what we need more of is not time, but acceptance — of ourselves, of our lives, of where we are, who we are, now? How would we move forward from that belief? If we are okay exactly as we are, my hunch is that we are more likely to create for thirty minutes today and celebrate that, rather than wait two years for the day when we have a block of six hours to create.

As my awesome mentor Jenna Avery says, “Start small and start now.” What we really fear is not that there isn’t enough time, but that we won’t accept ourselves if we don’t live up to our perfectionistic standards, if we don’t do more, more, more. Do me a favor: do less. Write for fifteen minutes. Sketch for fifteen minutes. Dance for fifteen minutes. And do it today. It takes no time to accept yourself exactly where you are, right now.

A couple of announcements, & gratitude!

A while ago, a coaching buddy of mine and I were talking about how it’s difficult to experience a feeling of abundance in our lives when we don’t take time to really feel it, don’t slow down enough to be with it, don’t take a moment to say “thank you.”

I can forget. I can get so focused on what I don’t have that I get into “lack” mode. And then I see evidence of lack, everywhere. When I remember, when I notice what I have been given — often with no conscious effort on my part –I see evidence of this in my life, everywhere.

We can practice this. We can practice by noticing. Yesterday I noticed I was a little bit tired, and although I felt a tremendous urge to rush over to the computer to respond to email, I decided to sit quietly on my couch. My cat woke up from his nap, looked at me, and immediately came over and jumped into lap. I listened to his purr and felt it reverberate through my hands, my chest, my abdomen.

I breathed in the abundance of this moment. I was sitting on a soft down throw my mother gave me for Christmas last year. My living room felt warm, even though it’s in the 40s outside. The sun was sneaking out, after a clouded-over, gray morning. It felt good, to just be, to realize I had all I needed in that moment. And in this one.

Here’s to noticing what we have. Here’s to saying “thank you.”

And here’s to more abundance — a couple of announcements:

* Last week, I officially became a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach (woo-hoo!).  In celebration, I’m offering four FREE half-hour coaching sessions — first come, first-served. Bring me any issue (it doesn’t have to be related to creativity, but it certainly can be) and we’ll do a little exploring and get you a little less stuck. To get your free session, email me at jillwinskicoaching@gmail.com and mention “free session” in the subject line.

* Also, I am super-excited to announce that I will be a coach for the next session of Jenna Avery’s Just Do the Writing Accountability Circle, which begins Nov. 28. I’d love for you to join us — it was the amazing encouragement of this circle that helped me finish a first draft of my novel last session, which I wrote about here. To sign up for the Writer’s Circle, click here. The last day to register is tomorrow, Nov. 23, so don’t wait!

Wishing you the gift of noticing what’s beautiful, good and right in your life.

Image is PUMPKINS © Paul-andré Belle-isle | Dreamstime.com