There is this idea about writers, infact it applies to creatives in general. The idea is that our best work comes from a place of negative experience that serves as the poker that stokes our flames of creativity.
I enjoy writing about being a writer, mainly because it’s a title I struggle to attach to myself as a blogger. However, here in this space where all I do is write, I suppose I am a writer.
There are all these ideas about the way that writers should be and it’s strange that we cling to them, even the negative ones.
A common one is the idea of the tortured writer. For them the writing process is like some sort of possession where it takes over and you have no choice but to sit and write until you are possessed no more.
I used to carry the belief that the best work or at least the best of my own work had to come from a place of sadness, anger or frustration. It’s not that I looked for those things but I found myself happy to use experiences that brought on those emotions as opportunities to write something.
Then one day after catching up with a dear friend, I left with a full heart and inspiration to write. When I started to write, the words poured out with such great ease like they have so many times before. the only difference was that this time I was full of joy.
In that moment, I realised that I had debunked the myths that I had once believed about myself as a writer.
When it comes to this blog, I’m in charge of the writing process and you are in charge of the rest. That includes the views, likes, comments and how popular each post gets.
As the creator, as much as you might want to be, you can’t be in control of the numbers and of how well your work performs because that’s not your role.
Your role is to do the work and as long as you’re doing it well, you have to learn to be okay with everything that comes with it.
Obviously if you earn a living from creating, the stakes are much higher. You might need to report back to someone and of course what they want to hear is that the numbers have gone up and at worst that they’ve stayed the same.
However, in spite of the above, I think it’s good to look at the numbers occasionally (even if they don’t affect your income). It can be useful to see the kind of stuff that is performing well. For example, one of my most popular posts is about Instagram and I’m also aware that my posts about being a writer and the writing process tend to do fairly well. I enjoy writing about those topics so choosing to do more of that would be a win-win for me as the writer and you as the reader. I wouldn’t have that knowledge without looking at the numbers.
But most importantly, the key is to not become so attached to the point that you’re happy when the numbers are up and sad when they’re down. The only thing you need to do is create.
Sometimes the easiest way to boost your mood, shift your perspective brighten your day is to make a conscious choice.
Wake up in the morning and decide that today will be a good day. Decide that you won’t allow the little things to knock your mood.
Perhaps it is easier said than done but it’s worth a try. And you can use tools to such as EFT, meditation or even a solo dance party to aide the mood shift. The practice of shifting your own mood will help you understand that how you feel isn’t as rigid as you thought.
When it comes to solving problems, there is a big difference between finding a solution and finding a solution to the problem.
When we’re simply just finding a solution we tend to come up with things that are short-term, quick to do and don’t really address the issue.
Lets take the example of being upset with someone. Now imagine that the solution you choose is to go off and take space until you’re no longer upset. Then, by the time you come back to the other person you’re now totally over it. That is a potential solution but it doesn’t actually solve anything.
A solution to that problem could instead be still taking space if you need it but then also voicing to the other person how you felt about their actions. That way you create space for discussion rather than being closed off and holding things in.
And so the next time you have a problem to solve don’t just find a solution, find a solution that is right for the problem.
A question I’m learning to ask myself without judgement?
It’s easy to judge yourself and in doing so you’re not likely to answer the question in a way that is helpful.
You’ll be likely to find yourself caught up in a woe is me story-line. Your answer will be something like: ‘Well, I’m trying and it’s just not working out the way I want and I wish it could be better but maybe I’m just not good enough…’.
That sort of mentality isn’t helpful and it won’t result in growth, development or progress.
When it comes to improving on something you can’t attach emotions to your critique because it isn’t personal.
When asking the question Can I do better? it isn’t even really about a yes or no answer because one could argue that you can always do better. Instead it’s about whether you are happy to put out the thing you’ve created or the work that you’ve done.
It turns out I’ve been hiding.
I’ve been hiding from the kind of writing that challenges me. I used to think that that meant being more personal and baring my soul.
But I was wrong.
I think there is beauty in being able to write something that not only moves the reader but also the writer.
Not the painful, tortured writer but instead the kind of writing with feeling behind it instead of just words.
It’s hard to find the time to push myself with what I share on The Daily Gemm in-between everything I have going on (and everything I distract myself with). And sometimes I allow myself to be bare minimum because I know I can get away with it.
But I read something beautiful this morning and it moved me. It made me remember just what I love about writing. It got me thinking about how I used to write and how I haven’t pushed myself to explore my writing enough.
I don’t even remember the last time I just sat and wrote without thinking about what I would do with it once it was finished.
I haven’t written a poem in months.
I daydreamed about writing these personal essays about my life yet I rarely write more than a couple hundred words at a time and never get round to even planning the essays.
I’ve been hiding and I didn’t even know it.
I think this is what they call a break through.
Perhaps we should look at situations from a neutral perspective.
The feeling you have towards any situation is not the problem and that is the mistake that is so often made.
We get so carries away by how dreadful it feels and sometimes that can spur us on but other times its just a hindrance. How are you supposed to go out into the world and thrive when you’re caught up in emotions.
Take unemployment for example. If you’re focused on how blah it feels to not have a job then every rejection email will be more likely to feel like a knock physically and mentally. Then before you know it you’ll be declaring that the job market is impossible and that you’re without a hope in the world.
The feeling is not the problem.
If you’re instead focused on the act of applying for jobs and improving your CV you’ll undoubtedly have a very different experience.
And the thing with a job is if there’s only vacancy and 50 people apply even if they’re all perfect applicants 49 people will still ‘lose’.
But that doesn’t make them losers it just means they have to keep playing that game.