Last week, I was teaching songwriting to high school age songwriters at Interlochen Camp for the Arts and I was elated to watch them writing each day, sometimes working on up to three songs in a day.
I promised myself that in this inspired environment, I would not only teach, but also set aside some writing time for myself.
So, on my day off, after morning coffee and yoga on the dock, I sat down to write.
What happened? It was tough. I tried rearranging a story I’d written months ago and did some free writing but I didn’t feel like I was in the “zone.”
Part of me just wanted to play, ride my bike, take a boat ride. Another part wanted me to “produce” something first, have something to show for my time.
I ended up doing a little of both, biking and writing, but it was interesting to listen to my inner dialogue.
The frustrated part of me wondered: “Why isn’t the writing coming, why isn’t this working? I took a bike ride, why is it still not coming?”
Another part of me, a little kid version, I could almost see giving me “a look” that said: “I want to know you’ll love me no matter if I make something or not. You can try to manipulate me but I want to play. Besides, I’m worthy of love no matter what I do.”
I’m well aware that the creative process is capricious and its gifts are just that, gifts. But on this particular day it revealed something new.
It showed me that there’s a part of me who wants to be loved apart from what she achieves, produces, and finishes.
A part who’s asking for unconditional love.
She’s simply drawing my attention to the fact that sometimes I suspend feeling good about myself until I’ve accomplished something. Ouch.
So maybe when’s she’s holding the writing hostage, it’s just a sign that it’s time to be nicer to myself
Well, okay, I can do that.
I do it with my kids too: “If you clean your room, you get ice cream,” or “We can go to the beach after we pick up the toys.”
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with cleaning your room first or giving yourself a reward after hard work, but sometimes don’t you just want to go to the beach before you do your chores?
It also gets old in our adult relationships if we withhold affection until we get what we want or only ever offer our love conditionally.
So today I’m celebrating my writers’ block as an opportunity to give myself more love whether I have something to show for my time or not.
And to all you doers, creators and “make it happen” kind of people out there, I have no doubt that what you make/do in the world IS wonderful, but you are not wonderful because of what you do, you just ARE wonderful.