Sunday, April 30, 2006
A Cluttered Mind
Over the past six months, I've discovered that uncertainty in the writing arena of my life can be crippling. In this instance, I've been uncertain over where to submit my manuscripts and to whom. At times, it has interfered with my ability to write. Every time I sit down to work, the worries float to the surface and interrupt the flow of words. At the very least, it sucks the joy out of the writing process.
Why is this such a big deal? you ask. Well, quite frankly, I'm a bit of a control freak. I like to be organized and have a clearly defined path to follow. Sad, but true. I'm also a worrier. If I don't have something real to worry about, I'll find or create something. Also sad, and embarrassing. But there it is, my flaws in the open for all to see. Those close to me know I don't hide them very well. :)
Anyway, I've been noticing how this lack of a clear path has inhibited my writing and I've pondered why this is and what I can do about it. Of course, I know I need to stop worrying and not let it interfere. But that's easier said than done.
Today I received an inspiring email in my inbox. It was from Cheryl Richardson, a life coach who is the author of several books, has her own website and newsletter, has appeared on Oprah, and does an internet call-in show. She sends out a newsletter every week, which I enjoy reading for its encouragement and spiritual approach to life issues. Part of the newsletter included these words:
"When we attempt to control an uncontrollable situation we not only waste precious energy, we clog up our mental bandwidth with junk--worry, assumptions, fearful thoughts, etc."
I tend to waste a lot of energy worrying over things I can't change. That energy would be better channeled into the things I can change. But reading this week's newsletter helped me see so clearly how all this worry was clogging up my creative channel. No wonder the writing is slow! Each time it tries to flow, I tighten the valve by thinking, "What's the point of getting this done? I don't even know what I'll do with it at that point."
And when I cut off my ability to write, I lose a lot of the happiness in my life. As many of you know, when the writing is flowing, life is good. When it's not, everyone better watch out! How sad that sometimes it is self-inflicted. What a waste!
What can I do about this? Well, I don't think I'll change from a worrier to an eternal optimist overnight. Much as my husband would like that. He's one of those irritating "glass-half-full" people. Stealing a phrase from a friend of mine, if my glass was half full, I'd pick it up and drink it until it was half empty.
But I can recognize when I'm letting those thoughts get out of hand and try to replace them with something more constructive. Or remind myself that I can worry about that later. (Is delayed worrying healthier?) I can try to remember that where I send my manuscript isn't really important until I have something to send.
Well, it is certainly worth a try. What do you do when you find yourself worrying about something that's out of your control?
PS-Check out some of Cheryl Richardson's words of wisdom at www.cherylrichardson.com!
PPS-This is the first blog I've posted in the last month that didn't get cut off before I could actually publish it. Special thanks to the cable tech who stuck around long enough to find the problem last week! After four days without internet service, I thought I'd lose my mind.