February. A wonderful month. Does February get a short shrift? I think so. The only month which does not get thirty days. The one with the four-year anomaly. Winter, at least here in the states. February offers something special. Renewal. Yes, the over-hyped New Year of January pressures folk to do something different, to make change in their lives, but how much change really goes on? Very little. Studies support that by the way.
People who truly want to change their approach to life must take on the dirty work of looking inward. Too many of us look to external teachings and “personal growth” gurus instead of looking to ourselves. The book The Four Agreements profoundly impacted my life, but I took that book on out of a desire to work on internal issues. I committed myself to the tough work at hand, and I was rewarded with insight and growth.
Isn’t there a line we walk each and every day in this “modern age?” Something like a personal growth book needs to be accessed out of need and desire, not justification. These books should not be picked up simply because someone told you of your need for the book or concepts. We get pushed, mauled even, into pressuring ourselves into the “personal growth” mode. Talking heads get up and trumpet the importance of working on yourself.
Frankly, I agree with them, but then there’s that line we walk. That line is so vital. If we do not truly commit ourselves to the work, and if we don’t truly invest in the ugliness we find, there will be no true, lasting impact. Unfortunate that. One of the reasons I bring up this nebulous line is that we must each identify not only where the line is drawn within ourselves, but what the hell kind of line it is.
Are we being pushed into something we are not ready to take on? Are we doing this, the study of personal growth, because we want to be someone other than who we are? Are we ready to look at ourselves honestly, or are we going to continue to justify most of our decisions and viewpoints in the same manner we are accustomed? In other words, are we simply looking for justification for how we currently live? I believe there is a lot of justification which goes on with many folk who buy into the “self help” industry.
We recognize on some level we need to go to self help, but we do not define the parameters. There are many programs which tell you to do this and do that. To set up checklists and adopt their “system” toward personal growth ecstasy. I suppose this works for some folk. For me, checklists to remember to do personal growth tasks without desire is only an indication we are not ready.
Believe me, I could be wrong in my observations here, but in my life, I will only adopt something into my life which delivers true, deep meaning. For instance, I’ve been “schooled” in the writing community for decades to “write every day.” I even believed this to be true all those years. Yet I did not write every day. My writing life would crescendo and free fall based on my whims and my attempts at regimen.
Then, I found the line. That place within where I noted I truly desired to be and that place where I would commit myself to taking on the tough tasks required to make books happen. And blog posts. And short stories. And poems.
I am now reading again, and I am picking up more “self help” books than fiction (although fiction is a form of self help book to fiction writers). I have prepared myself for change. In fact, I am at a point where I welcome change. New ideas on how to do things, like writing, in different and exciting ways. This all comes to fruition because I have done the inner work of finding the line I will toe, the line where I will commit to invest myself, and I use this line to keep me moving forward.
My line broke down as quite simple. I had not written a new book for three years. I helped over 100 people get their books written in that time period. Yet I produced nothing in the “book” category. In October 2015, I took on Nanowrimo. Yes, Nanowrimo begins on November 1st, but I wanted to be in rhythm once November arrived. I lined out my book on index cards. I began writing again on 750words.com two weeks out. Once November arrived, I was consistently writing 1500 words each morning. I had incorporated writing time between 5am and 7am each day.
The most important aspect of all this? I did not analytically checklist any of it. I looked forward to it and I anticipated it. Yes, I placed the word “words” on my whiteboard for motivation. Yes, I did check off that item each day for about a month or so. Now, the word “words” remains on my whiteboard, but I never check it off. I own an expectation of writing every day. I look forward to it every day. On the rare occasions I write my words in the evening, I’ve felt out of sorts most of the day waiting on the opportunity to get back to writing.
I now have 112 straight days of writing at least 750 words. I am averaging 53,000 words a month. Two of my blogs are now getting the attention they need and deserve. All because I found that line within me I am willing to toe. The line where action is embraced and I can commit to whatever needs be done. I encourage you to seek your inner self. Seek that place where you decide, almost on a molecular level, that you will commit yourself to your writing. What does that commitment look like?
Only you may determine your writing future. I will not tell you that you must write every day like me. You must get up before the sun every day and welcome your writing dreams into your heart. What I will work to pass on to you is this: find yourself. Creative-leaning people struggle with this. Don’t expect to find and know every aspect of who you are. You cannot. But your writing allows you to explore yourself. Find who you are willing to be as a writer. Find your parameters and work to bust out of them. Allow yourself the freedom to write.
You will discover your writing definition. Hopefully, you will take the journey into discovering more amazing things about who you are and why you are creative and why you desire to write. Baggage and excuses are the hallmarks of writers going nowhere. Find yourself, find that line where you’re willing to execute action with regard to your writing, and embrace who you are through your writing, both the words you string together and the rhythms you look forward to employing.
Hopefully this helps someone. A bit vague, but I know this helps me – present tense. I still love discovering more about my “writing line.” I want to know more about how I may grow as a writer and embrace the constantly changing aspects of learning who I am. Find your line.
Need help? I do run a five week workshop on how to write a book here: WriteYourBookin30Days This workshop is available in person at Change Jar Books in Flagler Beach or as an online webinar. Pick your delicious poison and let’s get that book written!