waste your time, don't feel bad about it

A big focus of mine this month is writing a grant application. It’s a tedious, procedural process that requires a lot of care and focus. Although I have an extensive background in writing, I still find it hard and painful. This time I am determined to change my perspective. Writing in many ways is a practice in focus. The value in prep time is narrowing what you are focusing on. I imagine writing as carving a wood printing block. You draw your sketch. The sketch then is refined to very specific, clear lines, then you transfer it to the block. This is all your prep time, your outline. Once you start carving you are writing. At times you have to go both with the grain and against the grain. It is strenuous, and you have to be precise in your movements to honour the lines of your design, your idea. It’s hard. You have to give yourself time and you have to be patient. But if your original idea, your impetus  for writing is worth it, it won’t feel like torture. It’ll be more like doing tough hike, but the wind is fresh and the skies are clear and there are no bugs.

The importance of prep time applies to any piece of writing. If there is no strong core idea, something you really care about nothing will translate. That’s what I’m getting at here. It’s important to be grounded in what you love and why in order to fill up. If you’re inspired and are communicating from that place to your precise passion will translate into your final piece of writing. 

You might feel like this part is a waste of time, but in fact it’s what’s going to make your work inspired and full of life. Getting in touch with what lights you up and why is an exercise in being, thinking, and talking about passion. This will be you awakening yourself to that energy. Any writing that comes from that lit up place is going to touch people.

The most effective way I’ve found is to go on a tangent and enjoy yourself. Do things you like and consume content you like. I resent the expression “guilty pleasure”. I don’t think pleasure needs to be complicated with guilt. Guilt is not a productive catalyst for action but it is a tell. If you are feeling guilt about liking something, it’s worth it to explore where that comes from and why. Make a list of what makes you happy or makes you feel something. And go explore, read something, watch something, move and enjoy yourself! 

 

Reading: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Thinking about: Writing and processes

Getting lit up by:

-big blue skies

-swimming in waves

-good stories: books, tv, podcasts, movies

-bonfires

-sunsets, sunrises

-masters, people who are obsessed with one thing

Agnes Martin

-sports history, athlete’s journeys

-beautiful paper

-love

-Paris

-sleeping/waking up in a tent

-hiking

-Sundays with my family

-gardening, watching things grow

-being a witness to healing

-waking up after a really deep sleep

-powering through

-sharing a meal with someone

-cooking with people

-driving

-packing for a trip

-seeing animals in their habitat

-learning, reflecting

-meditating

-watching people express gratitude

-examples of perseverance

-slow paced days, the mundane

-mysteries of the human mind

-being held

-live music in public places

-being on boats

-being outside all day

-eating when I’m super hungry

-beautiful hardcover books

-interviews

-good, insightful criticism

Still Processing Podcast

-people who stand up for themselves

-multiple course meals

-singing

-listening to great voices

-nice, thoughtful packaging

-getting mail

-vivid dreams that linger all day

-people doing things with personality

-moving my body

-musicals  

 

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