How to make a creative commitment that feels good.
I love the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) because change = aliveness.
I’ve often scheduled writing retreats for spring and fall, because this energy works for me creatively. But the past two years… you know.
So much uncertainty. Possibility. Loss. Quitting, starting, and quitting again. Making plans, cancelling plans, adjusting and flexing and stretching.
I’m a mercurial type, and I know I kind of thrive on change. But these past two years have been different. This is extended, forever-type change.
And now, a tyrant threatens the freedom of our friends and families in Ukraine.
It’s difficult to know how to move forward from here.
Spring can feel intense and pushy: all of those bulbs poking up out of the ground, birds flitting around preparing for mating and nesting, the snow melting and freezing and melting again. There’s an anxious, excitable energy out there.
I want to use this energy as a source of creative fuel. Direct it and transform it.
But… I’m not ready! I don’t feel like it’s the right time for me to make a big declaration about finishing anything, yet.
How else can we show up, to direct the energy of this season into creativity?
Because I know that writing is good for my spirit, the same way I know that exercise is good for my body.
Assess your energy levels, and make a creative commitment that feels good.
Depending on what your life looks like right now and what you’ve experienced in the past few months, your tolerance for commitment and discipline may have shifted.
Did you get enough rest over the winter? Do you feel energized and ready to burst, or do you feel more careful and observant?
Or it might be the right time for a bigger milestone, like the completion of a draft, or finding an agent.
Let’s make goals for ourselves that feel good to reach for (not overwhelming). Or it might be the right time for a bigger milestone, like the completion of a draft, or finding an agent.
Let’s make goals for ourselves that feel good to reach for (not overwhelming).
Here are some of my creative commitments this season. Feel free to borrow any that suit you:
I promise to write and read for pleasure and comfort.
I promise not to force a timeline on my work for the next three months.
I promise to cross-train with art, music, and dance, so I don’t get caught up in language.
I promise to tend my nervous system. (My hyper-aware spidey senses tune into other people’s anxiety so strongly, I feel it almost as if it is my own. That’s why I’m a writer—you might relate. This is also why I’m giving myself extra care).
I promise to stay present, to hang out in pleasure, and to pay attention to sparkles of delight, mystery and interest as they come to me.
I promise to write these sparkles down, without having to make sense of them yet.
I promise to trust that my story is smarter than I am. Patience is not procrastination.
I promise to practice deep noticing, and to write down the details.
If you’re feeling tentative or tender about making a creative commitment (a valid way to feel, especially after two years of living through a great deal of confusion, loss, and uncertainty), set yourself up for creative growth that nourishes you.
This isn’t boot camp, and we aren’t here to conquer anything.
We’re creative writers: we show up for presence, pleasure, and transformation.
This is more than enough. This is everything.
Photo credit: Calvin Chou on Unsplash.