U-Turns and Morning Prayers
I started calling myself a writer. I updated my website. I joined the Georgia Writer’s Association. I updated my twitter bio. I shared in an interview yesterday that I’m writing a book and I made it real by giving my elevator pitch description. I caught up with an old friend last night and blurted out “I’m writing a book, can you believe it?!”
This morning I go to do the thing. I’m working on two pieces, one about my brain tumor and one about lent for the nonreligious, and of course there’s the book- so I go to do the thing, ya know, write. And it’s the most forced uncomfortable unnatural clunky thing. I suck at this. What was I even thinking? And then I remember. This is the part where I pump the brakes** (slam the brakes with the screeching tires sound effect). The part when the feelings of fear and fear of vulnerability and this creativity get louder than the quiet voice of my writer self. This is the part where I always quit. A decade ago I started blogging then quit. Six years ago it was my website that I quit. And on my fortieth birthday I vowed to tell my story. I’m forty-two and I’ve yet to tell my story outside of the recovery rooms.
Julia Cameron calls this the creative U-turn in her book The Artist’s Way. She talks about how the (blocked or recovering) artist tends to sabotage right before or after a creative victory. “The glare of success… can send the recovering artist scurrying back into the cave of self-defeat.” The success that made me run for cover was merely identifying as a writer and publishing a blog post or two.
As my mama says- if you say you’re a writer you’re a writer.
Glennon Doyle mentioned that to me once too. Okay she didn’t mention it to me personally, but she said it in a live on Instagram and I felt like she was talking to me personally. People who aren't writers don't obsess about whether or not they should be writing, right? About seven-seventy times a day I get an idea of something that I must write. A story from my childhood or an anecdote that I feel like would illustrate a life lesson beautifully or a speech that I’d like to give one day. I asked my partner if he did this too because I thought maybe I wasn’t a writer, that this was something that all people went through, and he was like “uh, no.” I have little index cards all over with ideas on them. I have a page in my passion planner dedicated to writing ideas and my morning pages binder has sections devoted to different book ideas. I have four book idea folders saved on my laptop. Don't even get me started on my notes or Evernotes apps.
I don’t know what the solution is because I’m in the place where I always do the U-turn. I’m writing it. And putting it somewhere. This time around feels different. I went through The Artist’s Way last fall. I still do the morning pages prescribed during the course and tell everyone that will listen to do them. (Morning pages are 3 pages of free writing first thing in the morning, google it, do it, it will change your life!). I’m learning more about my craft and committing to writing everyday beyond my morning pages.
I’m also going to get really vulnerable here and share the prayer that I say each morning. I don’t think the words here are entirely original, I wrote them during my week 4 of the artists way. At the time I was also working through a book called “I don’t want to , I don’t feel like” it by Cheri Huber. Every 2 days at the end of her book she offers a new exercise to practice and they were so good and rich I incorporated some of the insight into my prayer. And those of you in recovery will recognize some of the language too. Over the months since I started saying the prayer I’ve added and taken away and this is what it is
at the moment.
In the spirit of not taking a another u-turn, I’m standing at a turning point, choosing vulnerability over fear.
Here is my prayer:
My Morning Prayer*
Higher Power, Creative Force,
I offer myself to Life. Help me to receive the gifts of this day.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I might better live into what I am meant for in this world.
Help me to live in a way that is whole-hearted and sound of mind.
Guide my thinking and my actions.
I surrender my old ideas and open myself to new expansive ideas.
May I approach the day with childlike curiosity, with gratitude, and a joyful heart.
Help me to have unconditional love for the human form (mine, my family and ALL people).
Help me to notice the obstacles that stand in the way of my usefulness, creativity and connection, and help me to do the next right thing until those obstacles are removed.
Allow me to use moments of defensiveness and anger as opportunities for growth and introspection.
Help me to do life with two hands and to live as if the universe is friendly.
Thank you for my life, my sobriety, and my art.
Help me to use this gift of a new day wisely and to glorify You in all that I do.
*Inspired by The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I Don’t Want To, I Don’t Feel Like It, by Cheri Huber and the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
**I published this and shared to all of my social media before I texted to my partner or anyone to proofread because I had to go ahead and DO IT! But you see I spelled brakes BREAKS. BREAKS y'all. Ugh. I almost left it as a test of my good enough, growth mindset but oh no no no but I figured y'all would appreciate the little footnote. There are probably several other typos and I write like I talk so grammar rules be dammed.. I mean damned. xoxo