It's been really difficult to write these last few months. Once the book was completed in Nov, I threw myself into sewing projects and crafting projects to create a homemade Christmas for my kids. I also needed another way to use my brain and express my emotions and thoughts. So I stopped writing, and started creating.
I foolishly thought that one month off would be enough. That a quick month reprieve, even though lets be honest, using all your spare moments to sew and illicit creativity is not taking a break, its just channeling what you do in a different way.
It wasn't enough. One month wasn't nearly enough.
Not fully understanding this yet, come winter, I would sit at my computer and stare blankly at it. I would start to write, forcing it, trying to put into practice that even when you don't want to write, you need to show up. Always just keep showing up. It is a creative discipline that will hone your skill and give you the wisdom and practice you need to be a talented writer.
So I would show up, stare at my computer, write a few terrible sentences, edit them, stare at them, and then delete everything I wrote. This process would take me an hour, with half of that wasting time on FB or Twitter or Huffpost (all in the name of research of course) and then feeling exhausted by lack of product and limited creativity, I would walk away completely frustrated.
I was emotionally empty but full of thought, yet I couldn't find the words. I didn't know how to articulate what I was thinking or feeling. I was plagued with doubt in who I was and how I communicated. Why was this so hard? Was one book all I had in me? What do I do now?
I was struggling to find my way. The book was an intense eight month project. A VERY intense eight month project. And in the end, it was closed out with multiple 16 hour days of editing on google hangout with Henry, my writing partner. I never realized that most of writing a book is actually editing it. Over and over and over. You don't really write a book, you rewrite one.
So here I was, the last taste on my creative tongue was editing on the computer. I was forgetting that the process always starts for me by writing and dreaming in my journal. Pen to paper. The thoughts come out slower, more fluid. There is a certain creativity and openness when you have pen to paper. Fingers on the computer appear so final, so professional. On paper I have space to dream and write all over the page when there is a blank canvas in front of me.
I was trying to work and create something new from the end, not the beginning.
And so for the last few months I have first off just been reading for myself. I am reading everything I can get my hands on. I read while I am cooking, I read before bed, I read during nap time and on the Sabbath. I am currently a consumer and not a producer. It has felt nice. Except for this one small annoying problem, my brain won't shut off! The more I read and rest, the more ideas I cultivate. I have half a dozen fiction stories that now exist in my head, I have three new book projects that I am working on. I have building projects, store shop ideas, family project ideas, cook books, oh man the dreaming and scheming is out of control.
I have filled four journals in the last two months.
I have found my beginning again. The place where the creativity starts. I still get hung up again on editing while I write, momentarily forgetting that the best part of the process is allowing the words to flow freely, trimming them and sharpening them after they have lived on the page.
Writing is a new project for me. I am slowly discovering how this creative process works for me, not necessarily as an artist, but as a person who desires to explore their life through artistic means.
If you are a writer or a painter or a photographer or singer/song writer, I want to encourage you in your craft. Continue to show up, unpacking how you do life through your creative means. Journal your process and never stop ask questions. Remember to consume art and the written word and music for enjoyment sake only. And always be gentle with yourself as you discover your process of retreating and creating.
Thanks for joining me on the journey.