Tuesday, 6 August 2013

On quitting and picking yourself up again

By Nila Sweeney

I've tried. In fact I've been trying for days.

No matter how long I've stared at the screen, I couldn't come up with anything meaningful, let alone witty and brilliant.  Again and again I would start typing, only to get stuck after the first paragraph.

When it started happening, I dismissed it to be nothing but a temporary setback. My creative juices would flow soon. So I kept telling myself.

Except that they didn't. No matter how I tried to find that elusive creative spark, I came out empty-handed.

Predictably, I started believing that little voice in my head telling me I'm not good at this blogging thing.  

I ignored it at first, but then it grew louder as I started seeing proofs. I have half a dozen half-written articles with so much promise at the start, but have since been consigned to the article graveyard.

How picked myself up

At this point, I just wanted to quit and join the ranks of the 99.9% of bloggers out there who failed and abandoned their blogs. But a bigger part of me was headstrong and perhaps too proud to stop.

So I had to pick myself up. To do this, I had to stop listening to that nagging voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough. Most importantly, I had to get clear about why I was stuck.

So I went to the gym.

I tend to get the best ideas when I’m working out, so I decided to give this old brain some oxygen.

As I walked towards my local Fitness First Club, I noticed myself thinking, “Why can’t writing be as effortless as walking? Why is it so hard?”

That’s when it hit me: I've been forcing it. I've been trying too hard. I had this fantasy that I would always come up with amazing stuff. Every time.

Of course, with such an unreasonably high expectation, I was so afraid of being judged.

I've also realised that I've been trying to write about topics that didn't truly touch and inspire me. I've been a fake.

While my aim was to write inspiring posts, my intention in this particular instance has been less honourable. It was in fact about looking good and less about what I can offer.

This is what I've learned from this breakdown

Lesson #1. The truth will set you and your creativity free
Duh, I knew this. Obviously I haven’t truly learned this lesson; therefore I must go through the painful process of learning it.

I pretended to be wise and all-knowing. The hard truth is, I have a long way to go. I’m still suffering from insecurities. I’m still scared of baring my soul.

Admitting to this and vowing to work with honesty and integrity is the way forward for me.

Lesson #2. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness
In fact it’s the opposite. The strongest people I've known were not afraid of admitting to their mistakes.

Instead of hiding behind my bullet-proof vest of pretensions, I can now let the bad news out: I’m a phony and I’m weak. 

Now that’s out of the way, I can now focus on letting this go and become the strong person that I know I am.

When you’re no longer concerned about people judging you, betraying you or hurting you, you’re free to do and live as you please.
You become at peace with yourself and your world. You unleash your creative energy.

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