Last night on my personal Facebook profile I wrote:
“I’m writing now like I breathe…”
It occurred to me as I was looking out at the night sky before retiring to bed, that in a way, when you tell yourself you are something, you really do become that. Oh, you can blow sunshine up your ass and tell yourself something straight out of a fantasy, but when you speak honestly, then it makes a difference.
It can actually change your world.
How can you tell if the message you give yourself is real or you’re just fooling yourself?
When you engage in an authentic dialogue with yourself something inside of you responds. There is movement, a shifting. The part of you the message is for resonates to the truth of that message. It perks its ears, sits up and then gets up, reaches out and starts moving toward the direction of that affirmation, that message. The authentic part of you that has been waiting to be told it has a right to live, to manifest into reality answers back.
Fantasy is telling you something that you not only don’t believe but it’s telling you something that has no place within you to go home to. Nothing inside truly responds, nothing resonates with possibilities and it inspires no real change.
For 30 days, participating in the “Write Yourself Alive” challenge/opportunity initiated by Andrea Balt, starting February 24th, I have been telling myself on a daily basis that I am a writer by writing first thing in the morning.
The idea of the challenge was to write first thing in the morning, every morning for 30 days.
I was very clear when I decided to participate in this that prioritizing my writing was going to be the main focus. Writing one to three hours if possible was not a challenge I was going to pick up. Word counts, while fun during NaNoWriMo would play no part in this endeavor. Reaching chapter goals or markers along my manuscript writing were irrelevant.
I was clear that my focus was to take my writing out of the fit it in after everything else is done or pay for my writing with my relationships or pay for my relationships with my writing cycle that I have been stuck in my whole life. For most of my life, I saw my writing as something that had to be fitted into the day if there was time or saw it as something that came with a high price, which either I paid or those closest to me paid.
For the next thirty days, I would write first thing upon rising. Period. That was the task.
In the beginning most mornings averaged around 30 minutes, give or take, however, I noticed something starting to happen. Something was shifting. Making writing a priority first thing in the morning set the resonance for me to be more open to writing later in the day. I found I was now having one or two additional writing sessions later in the day. Some longer or shorter than others. No strain or pressure, just taking the opportunities when they arose.
Then one morning, I had very little time upon arising. Only seven minutes, and I took it. And I was so pleased with myself. That morning was later followed by two significant writing sessions later in the afternoon and then evening. But it wasn’t to make up for the “only” seven minutes. That seven minutes stood on its own. The message had been the same. My writing came first. My creativity had priority.
Then on March 13th, something profound happened. I was at work. I was tired, as I often become at work, had meds to deliver before leaving work early to go to an all day training only to return back to my evening shift after it started to get caught up on transports and another med delivery at night. I had not had time to write. It was 7 A.M., my med bag slung over my shoulder, facing the door, ready to deliver meds on time.
I stopped. I thought, No, I’m not doing this. I turned around, placed my med bag down, opened my laptop and sat down to write. I looked at the computer clock. 7:01 A.M. I wrote. I looked at the computer clock again. 7:04 A.M. I closed my laptop, picked up my med bag and walked out the door. I had written first thing in the morning, before my day started.
My creativity came first. Even if for only three minutes, it came first.
I was so tired when I returned to work after the training and completed all my tasks that I did not write again that day, and yet, it was the most powerful and most successful writing day of my life. Because it was those three minutes that became the pivotal moment when my whole writing life would change.
It was not only three minutes of writing, but three minutes of good writing. No fillers to just fill up the time so I could say I wrote. These were three minutes of productive writing that I would use in my manuscript, ideas that would be valuable in my revisions.
And if I can write in three minutes, then I can write in 15 or 30. In that moment, I realized that I no longer have any excuses. The frustration that I have felt all my writing career, that I needed space, that I needed time, that I needed this or I needed that to be able to write became meaningless. I just created something productive in three minutes. What more do I need?
Any amount of time became a valid time in which to write. Yes, I love longer blocks of time, but not having them doesn’t stop me from being creative. Any amount of time is enough time to show that you value your creative process, that you and your creativity matter to you.
And that’s the most important thing you can do, because if you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t believe in the value of your own creative process and invest in it, then who can?
Within 48 hours, I was articulating at a Red Tent event, a group of powerful and supportive women, what I had come to realize from my three minutes. That made it even more real to me.
I began to write for longer periods of time in the subsequent days. Anywhere I was. The time added up, the writing progressed, because if an opportunity opened up, so did my laptop. Just because. Not because I was making myself, but just because…well, because I’m a writer! And that’s what writers do.
My outer world hasn’t changed. I still have the same 24 hours, still working at the same low paying job, still having more money going out than coming in, still dealing with crises and needs from a dear family member, still responsible for overseeing my youngest daughter’s home schooling and driving her to theatre rehearsals and classes all over God’s creation, still facing the same stressors and demands.
But I’ve changed. And somehow…in the midst of an outer reality that hasn’t changed, I have found six hours throughout the day for the past two days, and third one counting, to write. Nothing is being neglected. I’m just choosing to live my time more fully, more efficiently.
Not even trying to write that much, but just taking the opportunities, making the opportunities, because I’m a writer and I write and my creativity has priority.
Is this some kind of time warping?
I think it has to do with being seen, and relieving myself of the anger and the anxiety that comes from not being seen. Those emotions not only drain you, they take up time, they take up personal space…in your head where you could be playing with creative energy, creative thoughts and ideas. And the person who needed to do the seeing was me...all along, it was me.
When I took the time to acknowledge my creative self and show me that I took me seriously, that I valued my creative self, something was healed. I value feedback and support, but now I know I do not need a support group to keep me on track, to encourage me to write. I am my own best support group, my own writing partner.
Because now, I do write like I breathe. Effortlessly and without needing to put it on my calendar with reminders texted to my iPhone. Some days the actual writing will be less. Some days it will be more. I suppose what I am saying is that while I will not sit with pen in hand every moment of the day or at my laptop, I am a writer 24/7.
And I know this because I reminded myself, affirmed myself a writer every day for 30 days. Until I got it.
And now? Writing first thing in the morning is no longer a reminder. The sun rises and I write. That’s just what we do.