Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This is the year.

This is the year, I told myself. I was finally taking a year to finish my book—a collection of stories I’d been working on in my free time for the last three years. I enrolled in an MFA program in creative writing, where I could receive the feedback I needed to complete the manuscript. I cut back my marketing freelance writing projects to nearly nothing. I was all set to go. And then the year began to unfold.

Nothing was like I expected. It felt like I was spinning in space after being launched from a giant slingshot. I realized pretty immediately that the MFA program wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t learning any more than I had been on my own, and too much feedback was stunting my creative process. So I dropped the program.

I woke up one day without deadlines, financial income or daily social interaction. This creative transition was nothing like I’d ever experienced before. Even the things that worked for me as an entrepreneur no longer worked. Self-imposed deadlines, for instance, weren’t working. How can you rush a creative story? Some days, I felt great. Other days, I felt like a big fat loser. Should I get a job? Should I volunteer? How was I going to put some structure into my days? How could I stay self-motivated? These were never problems for me before. Why was this transition so different for me?

I began to realize that I had to build a brand new life from scratch—which meant letting go of patterns and routines that actually made me successful in the past. Sound counter-intuitive? Actually, it’s not. It means listening to your intuition more than you ever have before. Without guilt and with renewed joy and motivation.

Transitioning to a creative career requires courage, faith and a whole new way of approaching life. This journey has made me take a look at everything in my life—from relationships to spirituality to my own creative process—in a new light. I’m learning every single day. And I’d like to share that experience with you. Join me on my journey. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

1 comment:

Denise Leitch Jackson said...

It's been a year of transitions, and I can definitely relate. I enjoyed your lovely writing. Denise