I chose “Create” as my word for 2016 and so far this year, I’ve written less than I have the last four years. It’s a cosmic joke when we choose a guiding word and it challenges us. I try to laugh about it, but I’m the first to admit that I’m feeling incredibly frustrated. I’m not writing as many blog posts or making much progress on my next book. I’m not doing morning pages or writing in my journal consistently.
I’m not even consistently making my to do lists.
There are external circumstances: some travel, household renovations, etc. My Inner Wisdom whispers that it’s not exactly true. Beyond the external distractions and demands, the deeper truth is that I am evolving as a creative being and that means that I must create in different ways to grow into that next evolution.
That brings us to the real truth around my lack of writing in the year I chose Create as my guiding word: FEAR.
In order to write differently, I have to go into the unknown. I must leave the comfy routines that have sustained me over the last few years and shift them. My inner critic is digging in her little heels, crossing her arms, and protesting this need to change.
I know I’m not alone in this, but fear also convinces us that we are the only one who could possibly be feeling this.
I’d read a blog post about Bullet Journals and wondered if it would be a helpful. I Googled it like crazy, read tips, and went on Amazon to purchase a (serviceable) black journal Leuchtturm1917 notebook to experiment with the process. It was serviceable and delicious. Not only would the journal fit into my purse with ease, but it was all kinds of delicious in the details: index at the front, numbered pages, two bookmarks, a pocket, and sewn in pages so it lays flat. A solution!
The main purpose for a Bullet Journal for me was all those To Dos that were slipping past me. I’d finally have a place to keep up with all those little things John would toss out like… “the next time you’re at the Auto Parts store, would you pick up…”. Of course, I never go to the auto parts store, but I pass one frequently and having it down on paper would be that reminder I needed.
Now I had all those needs, requests for unusual items, and practical lists of tasks with due dates in one place.
Which is when it clicked: I was willing to buy a $19 notebook to hold lists of all my tasks, but I was using $4 sketch books (less if I had a coupon!) for my “real” words.
Don’t get me wrong. Those sketch books and the three solid years of using them were part of my own healing process when it comes to putting my words on paper.
A big part of my coaching philosophy is to encourage clients to use the good stuff. Wear the expensive perfume daily. Use the china for Thanksgiving and a random Tuesday night dinner. Stop saving that favorite dress. Use the good towels and sheets. Don’t save that yummy shower gel.
Didn’t my own creative life deserve to use the good stuff? Didn’t my most sacred writings deserve to be penned into beautiful made notebooks with an index and numbered pages? Didn’t my creative life deserve to have a notebook that fit in my purse so I could take it with me?
Maybe part of learning to create differently this year was to seduce myself with a luscious place to create.
I went back to my good friend Google and began seeking a source for those Leuchtturm1919 notebooks in a different color. I discovered The Goulet Pen Company, where I ordered an Azure Blue notebook for myself and a Royal Blue notebook for a birthday present.
Our creative lives deserve to be seduced and nourished in every possible way. Because how we fuel our inner needs to create lays the foundation for how we cultivate a beautiful daily life.
On March 6th, I wrote my first words in the beautiful azure notebook. Two days later, I wrote a chapter of my next book and notated the page number in that handy dandy index at the front so I can find it later.
(And because I know that I need a stock of empty journals waiting in the wings, I ordered notebooks in royal, berry, lemon, and orange.)
I believe one of the most important – and most challenging – parts of creative living is the evaluation process. What is nourishing me? What isn’t working? Where have I evolved? What needs to shift?
It’s important because it is how we continue to grow and evolve. And yes, it’s challenging. Because we thrive on the some level of sameness to the tools we use and the way we work.
There comes a time, though, that in order to be of service to our creativity, we must make some changes. And when it’s feeling frustrating and difficult and when our souls demand we evolve, we need nourishment. To survive the inevitable discomfort, we must remind ourselves that we deserve to use the good stuff.
That maybe in order to grow into our next evolutions, instead of playing the harsh taskmaster, we instead choose to romance our creativity with beautiful things and lots of love.
About the Author: Debra Smouse
Debra Smouse is a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle, life coach, and author of Create a Life You Love: Straightforward Wisdom for Creating the Life of Your Dreams. She resides in Dayton, Ohio where she practices the art of living with the Man of Her Dreams. She’s the Editor in Chief here at Modern Creative Life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.