I’ve been stuck.
This often happens shortly after I have a magnificent idea, or a new project I want to start. I run into “blockers.” If it’s a new book I’m planning to write (it is) I get to a point in my thinking about the plot or characters, and something doesn’t work, and I don’t take the time to find a work around. If it’s a new exciting project (it’s this too), I realize I don’t have the actual know-how to create the website needed for said project, or I don’t know quite how to get around a challenge, and instead of finding people to help me figure these things out, I stall. If it’s working on branding and marketing for all of the things – book, new project, blog, real job, etc. (and, yes, it’s this too), I find myself frantically searching for just the right marketing course that will make me smart enough to take this on – but can’t seem to find anything affordable or that looks like something I can see putting so much time into. And finally, if it’s trying to figure out how to do all of these things without feeling fragmented or completely overwhelmed, I start to think that I can’t do any of it well enough to make it worth moving forward.
Hence, stuck. And let me tell ya, I’m SUPER fun to be around when I’m stuck. My husband straight hates me when I’m like this – he sees it all as fear and my inability (my word) or unwillingness (his word) to forge ahead anyway. You say tom-ay-to, I say tom-ah-to. To be fair, I think most of us are less than ideal humans when we’re stuck in some way or another.
So fine. I’ve been doing all of the things one does when stuck. A combination of nothing, panicking, listening to my inner critic/censor tell me that I can’t do ANY of the things, convincing myself that all of it has SO much potential that I simply HAVE to figure out how to proceed, then back to doing nothing. I wait for magic to happen, for inspiration to hit, for a sign, but the more I wait, the more my brain feels like it’s frozen.
I was on Instagram the other day, and Kerry Washington posted that she was once again reading the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron to reconnect with herself. I read the book years ago and I got partway into it, loved it, and then life got in the way and I stopped. But I knew right when I saw her post that it’s what I need now. I remember it feeling like a door opening for my creativity, my desire to write sky rocketed, and possibility seemed endless. If there were a prescription for the kind of stuck I’ve been feeling, this is it.
I have a billion books in my house and I searched high and low for my copy with no success. I have moved that damn book to at least three different homes, so I’m not sure how it disappeared, but I picked up a new one and the accompanying workbook this past weekend.
I had another book to finish first, but even having it in my possession seemed to loosen things up a bit in my brain. I started to really narrow the kind of marketing help I wanted and, within a day, identified where I thought I could get the most bang for my buck. I started that course on Monday.
Then I took the beautiful planner I’ve decided to try this year and went to town. I’m talking color coding with highlighters, organizing myself by project or initiative, and checking everything off as I go along (one of my favorite things in life – making a list and checking it all off). I even made myself a little reminder in the top right corner to “work every day.” I don’t mean show up to the office – I’m pretty good about that. I mean work on all of the things. The book, the project, this blog, all of it. Every day I need to be doing something on one of the things.
In amongst all of this action, all of this doing, I started reading The Artist’s Way on Monday. And the work that goes along with the book started Tuesday morning. Within 24 hours, it’s like my brain is finally starting to turn again, slowly but surely, dislodging from the stuck position in which I’ve been wallowing. I actually started figuring out the workarounds for my book. The book I’ve been thinking through for more than a year. I’ve been stuck on just a few issues and I was able to make concrete decisions that allow me to actually start writing my second book. Finally. Miracle of miracles.
I think “work. every. day.” is going to be my new mantra because clearly, the work, the doing, the activity is making room for magic to start happening again. The action version of one of my fave life philosophies, “saying it out loud makes it so.” In this case, DOING it for real makes it so.