Does everything that feels creative eventually fall to a place that feels dead?
My love for writing has grown disproportionately to my ability to understand what I’m doing here. This time last year, I was embarrassed to tell people about my blog. I was embarrassed to tell others I was a writer.
This time last year, I wrote with fervor. I pushed and pushed to be who I said I was.
Now I believe I am that person, but I have little more to show for it than I did back then. Now the shame is gone, but the fervor is, too.
What has changed, if nothing has changed? If I’ve grown in security but shrunk in creation? Don’t those results cancel each other out?
I’ve settled into the person I desired to be. I’ve accepted her. Does that mean I grow bored with her—the same way I treat most relationship partners when it becomes “normal”?
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This August finds me in a whirlpool. You know the feeling?
It’s not always a bad thing. But it is a thing.
Consolation comes from knowing that I was in this exact whirlpool last August, too.
It was something about sensing life was about to change, that life needed to change, but reaching that oblique “changed” point could only be done with blind steps into the mire.
Being here again makes me think about years, and seasons.
I’ve heard that the human condition follows its own harvest year (not necessarily congruent with regional climates). So…
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One of the more annoying questions I ask myself is, “Yes, but do I really feel that way?”
Why is this so annoying? It implies an attempt to be “connected” to myself. Seems innocent enough.
But here’s a new idea I’m toying with: If I feel something, that’s how I feel.
No questioning, no over-analysis, no resistance.
Second-guessing emotions tends to stem from an undercurrent of doubt that runs beneath many of my decisions.
Am I making the right choices? Is life stupid? Is my boyfriend delusional? Am I delusional? Are we all lying to ourselves about everything?
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Hey, I'm Meggan, a vagabond writer, reader, & explorer. My mission? Freedom to do what I want and help you do the same. I’ll be sharing the inspiration, thoughts, and roadblocks I encounter in the quest. Come along, won't you?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Don’t answer that.
You can spend a lifetime chasing after that question. Landing on something, asking if it’s right…wondering if you’ve made a mistake. Deciding to wait, stay, or try something else.
The five-year-old son of a friend came home the other day distressed.
My friend said, “What’s wrong?”
The crestfallen child admitted, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”
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For fear that they will tell me what I don’t want to hear, I’m refraining from reviewing the posts I’ve written lately.
The sneaking suspicion is that I’ve been complaining a lot about how generally distracted I feel.
Beginning a few months ago, in a state of utter boredom with book editing, lack of social life, lack of work, it seems I turned to haphazard romances spice up my life.
The thing about romance is that it’s really, really engaging. Especially in the beginning. It’s full of untouchable hope and sparkle and mouth corners turned upward ever on their own accord.
New romance: a wonderful drug.
I’ve been doing drugs as a way to escape life block.
They say when you grow up with someone who has an addiction (work, alcohol, worrying, painkillers, sex, socializing), that even if you do not share the same addiction, you learn the associated emotional and psychological behaviors.
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The past month hasn’t felt very productive.
How can I write about creativity or reaching goals if I’m not doing things?
Two things jump out at me here:
1. Travel seems to lose me around six productivity days per round trip. I’m mentally scattered the day before and after, and generally distracted with movement on the actual day.
I’ve made two trips, so that’s 12 days. With more discipline, it probably could have been closer to four. People with “real” jobs do this all the time out of necessity. Ugh!
2. Since I’m a vagabond without fixed scheduling, I often rationalize reasons not to work on big goals
Derek Sivers distills with this guest post…
“We tend to think in black-or-white, putting all actions, things, or thoughts into a binary good-or-bad category.
It simplifies. It helps make quick decisions, though not good decisions. It over-simplifies.
It starts in school, when we’re praised for doing good or bad, passing or failing, praise or condemnation.
It continues in working world, where the only time we hear feedback on our work is when we do extremely well or badly.
But what about all those times when we’re just chugging along, doing our work, doing okay?
And forget work, what about relationships? Are we often over-simplifying our friendships and romances into “it’s going great” or “it’s not going great, therefore it’s going bad”!”
Often I forget that life exists on a continuum.
Black and white—that’s the world I inhabit.
There, things are clear-cut, simple, easy to understand.
I am either good or bad. I am acting crazy or sane. I am productive or unproductive.
But that isn’t life, is it? Things aren’t so cut-and-dry.
Life is a continuum. We are continuums in miniature.
Let’s take a single moment: right now. Sit back, close your eyes, think about your life, and allow your mind to let the thoughts come in naturally, without targeting anything specific…
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We write and we believe through the act of writing we are being honest.
The paper, to the pen, to the hand, the arm, the head, the brain.
A straight line. Connected. Mind to output.
But there are no straight lines in this floating space of existence.
No full clarity, no open view of ourselves. Not through anything, and not through writing.
Still, we do our best to create, and that’s all we can do.
I want to tell you that we can only write and write and in the practice of writing hope to distract ourselves from ourselves and therein discover some form of truth. The salamander caught lounging under a rock.
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There is the paralysis of not knowing what to say. What should be said. What should be heard.
There is the freedom of simply saying.
Of sitting down while your brain recedes to the background and your fingers move to the foreground so the things that come out are those which themselves wish to be said, which have been waiting, paused, held floating within your ribcage, hoping for you to unbar the gates.
There is the reaction, and there is the release.
We base often the release on the anticipated reaction even though reaction, by definition, is a thing that follows.
The focus, if we can commit to honesty (and can’t we?), should be on the release.
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“Act as if.”
You can probably figure out what it means, but I’ll nonetheless offer a little furtherance: Act as if means to play pretend with hope that your feelings and life follow the intent.
“ You might also say “Fake it ’til you make it.”
It’s so simple—it’s playing pretend—yet so much resistance arises (for me, at least) in implementing the behavior.
This is not support group mumbo jumbo, these are scientifically-backed mottos.
You’ve probably heard how smiling actually makes people happier or people with botox literally become less angry overall because they are less able to make angry faces.
These are just a few ways psychologists have proven that we are much more able to influence our feelings with our actions than we think.
I’ve been working on inhabiting this space, this life, as a writer for about eight months now.
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When I began writing this blog October, it was for the premeditated purpose of gaining an audience for when my book launched.
All the authors whom I’d listened to in interviews said that this was the main thing they would’ve done differently if they were starting over fresh because the email audience turned out to be their top buyers.
Being the go-getter that I am, I rode the coattails of their mistakes all the way to town.
Well, I mean, it’s a small town; I don’t have many subscribers.
But it turns out I wasn’t doing the blog thing just to gain an audience for my book.
I was blogging for a lot of reasons that I had yet to realize.
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Recently 30, I’ve pressed the reset button on my life and begun a quest to figure out how to shape this thing called life into exactly what I want. I’m self-educating (read: fumbling blindly) to learn how to make a living as a writer and how to be my own business. I’ll be documenting my progress, blabbling about my travels along the way, interviewing cool people, and hopefully making this fun and inspiring for all of us. Join the e-mail list, come along!