You know what they say about what you should do if you fall into quicksand:
I wrote the other day about my fear of writers block, and it definitely struck a chord. It seems so many of us are struggling to keep going, as if we are still trying to run even though we have one foot nailed to the floor. Trying, trying, trying. We give ourselves such a hard time. We beat ourselves up because we aren’t good enough.
My dear friend Michelle, who can always see what I need better than I can, said to me: ‘I know you are frustrated because you aren’t getting better as fast as you want to, or expected to. But maybe you aren’t better because you haven’t waited long enough.‘
In other words, give yourself a break!
The thing that keeps coming up for me when I think about this issue is:
We need to have compassion for ourselves. We need to give ourselves time. One thing I know: if you stop struggling, you stop sinking. If you stop trying so hard, things come so much more easily.
Michelle gave me permission to stop trying to be well. She sent me home to bed. I slept better that afternoon than I had in months. Just because I wasn’t trying to feel better. I was simply letting my body have what it needed. No striving. No struggling.
I think we get writers block because we are so busy striving. We don’t give ourselves compassion. Or permission.
Permission to write crappy first drafts.
Or crappy sentences.
Or nothing at all.
Everything has to be perfect first time. And it isn’t. Because we are human.
Of course, what I said in my last post still stands. Write anything, if its only a shopping list. It will help. But also, give yourself a break. Be gentle and tender with your inner creative. Release the stress, let go of the striving. Remember you are doing this because you enjoy it. And if you aren’t enjoying it, why are you doing it?
As if by magic, two blog posts I saw this morning chimed with what I have been thinking about this.
Jamie Ridler talks about bringing the tenderness and vulnerability of where you are to your creative work, and also about ways to help yourself fit creative activities in to your busy life.
Jennifer Louden, who is such a wise soul when it comes to compassion for oneself, talks to my soul and yours about letting go of perfection.
I hope that if you are struggling with a creative block of any kind, that you will be able to show yourself compassion. Be kind. You are doing the best you can. And if you stop trying to write the greatest novel of the 21st century, and start writing a paragraph about your dog’s snoring, maybe it will come more easily.
Remember, baby steps.