I took a short break from this practice.
Not from the writing, only from the publishing.
Last week I kept writing every morning without posting on this blog.
And it makes all the difference in the world.
Without the self-imposed pressure of posting immediately whatever I wrote in fifteen minutes, I easily get lost in research.
Knowing that my time is limited and then I have to put something out there, pushes me to focus on what I already have.
Another valuable lesson is to avoid the trap of chasing perfection. After fifteen minutes, I post what I have. That’s it. I don’t have the time to rewrite, refine and polish. So, I’ve learned to be content with the words that I found. Some days the post is inspired, some days not so much.
But it’s ok.
Knowing that I have to write and post in fifteen minutes frees me from the need to be perfect. As a result, my writing is more authentic. Maybe less chiselled and refined, but indeed more real.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”Leonardo da Vinci
What started as a writing practice has evolved, over the year, into a moment of introspection.
Every morning I turn my gaze inside to see what’s going on.
Some times what I find is a reflection of what’s happening outside. Other times I discover some emerging ideas, those are exciting trips. There are mornings in which I lose myself in my own darkness, unable to spot anything useful.
And there are times in which I find nothing.
I’ve learned that the way of introspection it’s a slippery one.
The more I go down inside, the more it becomes hard to see, and in the darkness, it’s easy to stumble and fall on things I can’t see. So, I begin to make up stuff, only to come back into the light.
What starts as a quest for truth, can quickly become a feel-good exercise.
There lies my reason for writing.
This blank page is my rope back to reality. It reminds me that at some point, no matter what I find or don’t find, I need to resurface.
And go on with my day.
With or without answers.
“The man who chases two rabbits, catches neither.”Confucius
This morning I woke up with a few ideas I wanted to write about in my morning practice. But because I couldn’t easily pick one, I’m now stuck and unable to begin while a conversation is still going on in my head.
“This one is interesting!”
“Yeah, but I’m not sure I have enough clarity to write something meaningful.”
“On this other one, we have clarity.”
“But is it interesting enough to read?”
“And what about this?”
“I think I already wrote about that.”
In the meanwhile, time is running, and my morning slot for this practice is getting thinner and thinner. So, here I am. Writing even if I haven’t picked a subject.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in this little morning practice of mine, is that action precedes inspiration. I can’t wait for inspiration to just happens before doing something. Inspiration ensues from my dedication to the creative process.
“This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”Steven Pressfield
That’s how my mind feels right now. I checked in every corner, behind every fold, inside every pocket.
Just crumbles of old ideas, leftovers from more inspiring mornings.
To be inspired is a daily practice of attention. Observing and listening, knowing that inspiration is everywhere because it is within us.
Attention outwards, to everything that surrounds us. But also inwards, listening to what is happening in the universe we hold inside.
And sometimes, nothing is happening.
At least, in my inner universe.
Or maybe I’m not paying attention enough.
Because I’m too tired or because something else is stealing my attention.
Whatever the reason, sometimes there’s just the void.
Sure, the best performers know how to do with that void. I’m pretty sure they have a rich set of tools and strategies to deliver even when they don’t feel inspired.
I’m not there, yet. I struggle to write when inspiration is not flowing.
But I’ve learned that the first step is to be aware of that void and accept it. Some days are just not my days.
I have no air left inside to breathe out. So, I need to pause and go out of my head to breathe in new and fresh air.
I love frameworks and schemas. I love finding them and, some times, creating them. And the simpler they are, the better.
I get the chills anytime I find a frame that helps me read the reality at a glance. A useful framework is like a treasure map. It provides me with guidance to move through reality and find what I’m looking for.
Frameworks and structures create also order. They draw lines dividing and connecting things, so I can make sense of what I experience.
At the same time, I cherish chaos and the shapeless space outside and between frames and structures.
Lately, I’ve realised how much energy I spent trying to fit into some frames or boxes while at the same time, I was evading or escaping them. It is as if a side of me wants to belong to something while the other side craves the freedom of nothing.
Not sure what this post is about. There are morning when I wake up with such clarity that my fingers write on their own. Other mornings are foggier. I have glimpses of something, an image, a word or a feeling. Those days, writing is like walking in the dark. My steps are hesitant, not knowing where I will end up. If I ever get somewhere.
This morning is one of them. And weird enough, when it’s too dark to see, maps become useless. So, maybe this what this post is all about. Reminding me that maps are useful, but when it’s dark, my only guidance is my senses and my inner compass.