Tag Archives: morning pages

Be Open. Don’t Try So Hard.

On Ardnave Beach, Islay, which I am yearning for dreadfully at the moment.

On Ardnave Beach, Islay, which I am yearning for dreadfully at the moment.

Lately, I keep coming back to the same thought:

Be present.  Turn Up.  Be still and open.  Don’t try so hard.

I was watching Jamie Ridler’s morning vlog, in which she talked about how people strive so hard to find their Life Purpose.  We make such a BIG DEAL out of it.

What if we just let it happen?

I’m not saying you can just expect your art to pop up out of nowhere.  You have to be present, make yourself ready.

You do your core practises.  Your morning pages.  Your writing exercises. Your artist dates.  Your scales or your practise sketches.  Your barre exercises.  You make sure that you are ready when the inspiration comes.

When I used to read about writers who sat down at their desks in the morning and stayed there for an alotted number of hours, regardless of whether the work came or not, I used to think they were mad.  It seems like working too hard. It seems like self-punishment.

Maybe you don’t just have to sit at your desk.

Maybe you can cultivate a mindset of being open.  Where ever you are, and whatever you are doing.

Maybe we are all trying too hard.

Forcing it just doesn’t work.  Every writer who has ever been blocked knows that.  But if you keep up the practises, the ideas come.  They come because your mind is constantly in a place where it is curious and open, and like a lamp in the darkness, it attracts the fluttering moths of inspiration.

So keep her steady as she goes.  Turn up for your daily creative habits.  Relax into them, and don’t panic.

The work will come.

Happy Creating,

EF

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Help will come

Life Org kit I was working on my Life Organiser last night for the first time in a couple weeks (it’s been a hell of a couple of weeks), and the quote at the top of the page for Week 43 in Jennifer Louden’s book just jumped right out at me:

A thunderbolt illuminates your heart: it isn’t your job alone to fulfil your dreams and give birth to your yearnings. You can relax and ask for help, and help will come.

It was that last sentence that jumped off the page at me.

Help will come.

Help will come.

All you have to do is ask.

Lately, I haven’t been asking. Actually, let’s be honest here, I have the greatest difficulty in asking for anything, ever. It’s one of the hardest lessons I have had to face with chronic illness. Sometimes, you just can’t be perfect and do it all. Or maybe, do any of it. You have to ask for help.

Whether I need to ask for help cleaning the house because I’m too exhausted to push the vacuum cleaner, or I need help from my Muse because frankly, ain’t nothin’ goin’ on in my storyworld, it is really, really hard to admit I need help.

Usually, I do the passive-aggressive woman thing of wearing myself out, reducing myself to a stressy heap of tears and vitriol, and then Husband put his hands on his hips and says in a despairing tone: ‘well, you only had to ask.’

I’ve been feeling really stressed for the last few days, and not very well at all, and if I was one of those organised bloggers who writes their posts weeks in advance, I would have had a bunch of spare posts backed up to cover me for the times where my brain goes blank. But I‘m not. I’m a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kinda gal, and I really like being able to write what I need to write when I need to write it. I need my posts to feel current for me, otherwise they come out creaky and preachy. Or at least, I think so.

So I didn’t write on Monday. I just couldn’t.

Instead, I had a bit of a meltdown.

On Tuesday, I decided to trust to the Muse. You could say that I asked for help. I trusted that some inspiration would come along. I listened. And while I was listening, I got down to a few other things, including my Life Organiser.

Bingo!

The action became the lesson. Trust. Ask. (Keep busy while you are waiting.) Help will come.

And it did.

If you are struggling with your creativity right now, ask for help.

Maybe you just need Grandma to come and look after your baby for an hour so you can write or read a book by yourself. Maybe you need someone to hoover the carpet, which will give you enough time to do something for yourself, something creative.

Or maybe you need to ask the Universe for help, to look up to the sky and say ‘Please could you send me some inspiration, because right now, I’m a bit blank.’

Then listen.

(The listening part is the important bit.)

As I mentioned in a recent post, silence helps.

If you can’t find silence, do something that will allow your Muse to speak. Morning pages; perhaps, a walk around your neighbourhood with your camera; a few writing exercises. Do your Life organiser, or read a book. Allow yourself to be open. Make peace with your temporary stuckness, but act in a way that will allow whatever message your Muse has for you to come through.

Help will come.

Your job is to be gently open to it.

Happy Creating,

EF

Journal Friday: Check In and Kick Start

So how are you doing?  Have you been writing your Morning Pages?  Did you buy yourself a journal and scribble your thoughts?

I started my Artist’s Way ‘Redux’ on Monday, and so far I have only missed one day on the Morning Pages (MPs).  I’m feeling pretty proud of myself.  I keep my MP notebook by my bed, along with my fountain pen, and write when I wake up.  It seems to be clearing the sleepy fluff out of my head, and helping me to work out what I want to do for the day.  What’s important.  (Need to be careful not to get ink on my nice white sheets, though!)

How about you?

Did you have a go with the journal exercise last week, as Puggle did?  Did you find out more about your life, and where you are?  Maybe even where you want to be?

Why not share with us how you are doing by leaving a message in the replies/comments?

Sometimes, its hard to think of what to write, or how to start.  I have to admit, there are times when I sit down with my journal or MPs and stare into space and think ‘what now?’  My MPs especially are punctuated by the sentence:  ‘I don’t know what to write next, my mind has gone blank.’

If you are suffering from this, and need a little kick start to get you going, here are some ideas that might just prime your pump.

Kick-Start Exercise # 1:  What Happened today?

Yes, I know that sounds boring and traditional, but maybe its not if you go about it the right way.  What was the most important thing that happened to you today, the event or feeling that sticks out in your mind above all others as important?

It might be the moment the doctor told you that your child didn’t have meningitis.  (Or did, in which case I am sorry.)   It might be that your boss complimented you on your work for the first time ever.  It might just be a moment when you were sitting at the traffic lights and looked up, and the clouds making were breathtakingly beautiful shapes, and it felt good to be alive.   Maybe nothing happened, and that in itself is a relief, an achievement or a significant red flag for you.

We go through our lives in a state of dazed distraction most of the time.  We barely notice the things that are important, let alone the things that are not, no matter how beautiful or poignant they may be.  Take a moment to stop and record what was most important today, the lasting memory of the waking hours you have just experienced that you want to take forward with you into the future.

Kick Start Exercise #2:  Have a Rant

If you are still stuck, how about writing about somethiing that makes you angry.  Everybody has something.  If you don’t, maybe you want to consider that in and of itself – are you repressing feelings, and if so, why?  Maybe your rant has to do with the neighbour allowing their dog to bark at all hours of the night, or potholes in the road that the council doesn’t fix.   What would you say to them if you could?  Maybe you want to yell at the government for some policy you don’t like, or you hate that your washing machine seems to eat socks and you can never find a complete pair.  Perhaps there are things you need to shout at your parents, partner or children, but don’t feel able to.  Your diary or journal is a safe place for all this.  Let it out.

Good luck with your journalling and MPs this week, and please share how you are getting on with us here.