One Day at a Time

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I manage an eclectic bookstore that is a self-help resource with a new age flair mixed with recovery books/materials and a Greyhound bus stop to boot. It is an interesting sociological lesson every day.

I have never been in twelve step programs myself, but some of my loved ones have been. I have been immersed in the community because of my store, and there are some really simple, yet amazing principles that I am trying to apply to my life and to my writing.

Julia Cameron has been in AA for over two decades and she infuses her essays on creativity with these bits of wisdom as well.

I have always been a perfectionist and I used to deny myself any creative musings that I couldn’t do perfectly. I learned in the Artist’s Way to let my inner child out to play when I take on a new creative project. Today, I am proud to say I am a horrible painter, but I paint nonetheless.

I am currently reading “Finding Water” which is another creative healing workbook in the Artist Way series and the synchronicity has been overwhelming. So many essays deal directly with the struggles I am experiencing with life, relationships, destiny…
Julia suggests sticking to a simple schedule of doable chunks. What is the minimum you can do daily. One step at a time.

I have always tried to bite off more than I can chew in every area of my life. I am always stretched to the max. I just finished revising a novel recently and I found myself more in a panic than I expected. See, writing when inspiration called and binging on inspiration is exciting, but in the end I would finish a section and then be blocked for months at a time. Once I finished the first draft originally, I got scared and shelved it for over a year. All in all, this book took nearly a decade to write, not because it was so difficult, but because I made it difficult by getting in the way. The panic has set in – I don’t want to spend the next ten years writing a second book, I want to find a better way to do this.

I’ve learned from friends and Julia Cameron recently, that writing daily is better than waiting for inspiration to show up, because a lot of the time it will forget it has an appointment with you! I also learned that writing 3-5 pages a day is a doable chunk (for me) that doesn’t stress me out and I actually start to look forward to writing more the next day.

Taking a stance of one day at a time also works because I can get so caught up in the future and what might happen that I freeze, can’t move, and I won’t move – therefore wasting tons of time being unproductive. Three pages isn’t much today, but writing three pages every day for months will add up to a new book.

There is a reason why 12 step groups work so well at keeping people sane, the principles might just keep me sane and help me to establish a career as a writer.

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One response »

  1. Mary, I absolutely loved this post. Thank you for sharing it! Your description of “binging on inspiration” is SO ON! 🙂

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