Current mood. Looking out a window into the haze of my own thoughts wondering where my writing habit disappeared too. The fog is so thick though the horizon, and my ability to create seems hidden away. I’m reminded of Robert Greene’s quote on the decay of the creative process:
“In moving toward mastery, you are bringing your mind closer to reality and to life itself. Anything that is alive is in a continual state of change and movement. The moment that you rest, thinking that you have attained the level you desire, a part of your mind enters a phase of decay. You lose your hard-earned creativity and others begin to sense it. This is a power and intelligence that must be continually renewed or it will die.”
The necessity of rest lasted three weeks. (Note this is now a recurring theme: See Lazy, Weary, and Restful) An unusual break in that no one thing gave reason to me taking it. Work perhaps and the stresses of employment. Granted I’m thankful for the opportunity, the stresses can grow on you. Expectations put upon you that don’t meet your own goals and desires. To realise more stress in your own life when others around you expect celebration; an odd dilemma and one that pushes me deeper into solitude. There is green grass outside of the window; I see it. The people around me have a way of bringing me out of any self-rooted funk. Enthusiasm externally breeds enthusiasm within much like a smile on someone else’s face can result in ourselves smiling without even realising it.
As each day passes without writing it seems like another layer of dust settles over my mind and within weeks I don’t recognise what had initially seemed too obvious. What had seemed like a growing state of flow lies tattered on the floor. The simplest step is to begin again much like our meditation practice. We recognise the breath, both the inflow and outflow and the nuances of each, yet find our mind wandering. We catch ourselves and without anger or despair return to the breath once again. In. Out.
Writing has that base too. We shift away from writing and although our minds see it in the distance we can quite easily just return to it. We open our laptop, or pick up our pen, and let the words flow. No anger or despair at the gaps in time because ultimately those meant something. Good or bad we must simply accept that they happened and we return to the words and thoughts lying dormant. Through periods of drought or uninspired thought I find myself turning to all things motivational. This time was a bit different. Although I’m always reading books for ideas and ways to keep myself moving forward my meditation practice took a step back. I’d been listening to motivation tracks on the Insights app for a couple of weeks and this past week found myself listening to something much simpler. One day the sound of a creek flowing, and at times wondering where was this creek that sounded like a waterfall, while another was one imitating waves washing up and out along a beach. The simple sounds versus someone else’s voice guiding me. It was a refreshing change to be back with my thoughts again and only my thoughts. Guiding myself versus allowing the words of someone else to direct where my mind goes.
Coincidentally I also read this quote from W.B. Yeats on his own writing routine:
“Every change upsets my never very resolute habits of work.”
Remarkable to think that one of the most prolific poets of our time struggled with the very thing Robert Greene observes. Sticking with creativity means coming back to it and allowing the words to flow with even the greats struggling from time to time. Perhaps recognising the struggle is the same as recognising the mind wandering when we meditate. There it is in the form of distraction, doubt, and fear and we must accept it and return to the page. We breathe and set those thoughts aside.
- Keep going. As much as we like to beat ourselves up over the perception of failing to meet our own internal commitments, we can simply start again. We have the ability to choose how we perceive our own inaction and those feelings are anger or disappointment it becomes even more difficult to start anew.
- Consider why you quit in the first place. There are always reasons why we put our pen down or the laptop away. If it’s happening with you why not write about the reasons. Fear? Doubt? A lack of passion? James Altucher, if he were in my shoes, would suggest making a list and it’s a helpful suggestion. Take his idea machine and turn it towards yourself and ask why? Then ask why not start again.