Tuesday, February 7, 2017

NO GUILT ZONE: Will You Take the Pledge?

I’m a striver.

(Is that a word? It is for today, just roll with me)

I’m someone who has to make a goal and press hard into making that goal happen. Whether it’s personally or professionally, I am an extreme perfectionist and I’m not satisfied until everything is done right—or rather, to what I perceive as “right”.

And we all know that standard is a subjective line that will never truly be attained to perfect satisfaction.

In other words: I don’t give up easily. And I don’t let go very quickly.

And if I do either of those above two things? Well, just cross stitch me a sampler with “Guilt” as the focal point and I’ll magnet it to my fridge.

I have a question for you. One that I had to ask myself and one, that if I were honest, I could not answer right away.

Do you guilt yourself into writing?

Now, before you scoff at me and click out of this post because I would dare to ask you such a thing, when you’re obviously created within the very fabric of your DNA to be a writer, I want to urge you to think about this question.

Not in a condemning way.

Not in a way to make you feel guilty.

Just in a way that makes you pause and consider your day.

Do you feel guilty when you sit down to write because you’re ignoring your family or the laundry that needs to be folded?

Do you think about your book and the next chapter you need to bring to critique group and the fact that you haven’t written in two weeks and thus have nothing to show up with?

So instead of sitting down and writing that next chapter, you put it off. Shoving it to the side, because let’s be honest, there’s more pressure now. And no one likes to write under pressure.

Do you look at other writers as they glory in how much they love to create and look forward to spending time in that story world and realize that you have to pull teeth to find the motivation?

Maybe this isn’t you every day. Maybe this is only you once a month.

But is there a small part of this that you find relation to? A small part of yourself that wants to sit
down, grab a cup of your favorite hot drink and swap war stories?

Pull up a chair, my friend, I’m ready to listen and unburden a bit of my heart as well.

You’re a writer. It’s woven into the fabric of your DNA. It’s your passion…or maybe it’s not. (Another post for another time.)

So why are you doing it? Why are you writing?

And why are you allowing yourself to feel guilty by it all?

Have you let expectations override your desire for craft? For time creating? For production instead of adventure?

These are pointed questions. I get that. I’ve asked them. Mulled over them. Chewed on the impact of my answers.

Are you striving for an end result that isn’t leaving you fulfilled?

Here is something that I encourage of you this week within your writing or maybe even your own everyday life: strive for what fulfills you. Fills you up and leaves you running over. Put the book aside if that’s not that project this week. Hands off.  (and I do mean, hands off)

Find that passion. Find that joy.

Find it.

Claim it.

Allow yourself to be filled up.

Because you can’t write from an empty well. And an empty well is an invitation to be filled up with things, emotions, guilt that only lead toward meaningless striving.

Don’t guilt yourself this week.

Who’s with me?



Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in colorful Colorado where she gets to live her dream stalking--er--visiting with her favorite CO authors. 




Julia M. Reffner said...

I'm learning this more and more. I need to create from a place that's full, not an empty cup. My time for writing might not be a lot right now but if I'm in a place where my cup is full with God's goodness He still uses that. Reading Present Over Perfect and that book has been used by God in my life.

kaybee said...

Casey, this is a good post and much food for thought. We have to be disciplined, but also cut ourselves the proverbial slack. I came to the Lord through Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU), and the director on our campus was a very wise man, especially at exam time. He used to say, "Plan your work, work your plan, but DON'T LET YOUR PLAN WORK YOU." Also, I'm a Seven Habits girl and Stephen Covey always said, "Sharpen the saw." Which was his term for recreation and refreshing. We do tend to drive ourselves hard because this is such a dicey, subjective business. You put your heart and soul into an historical and they're not selling that year, you write a contemporary about an elementary teacher and the contest judge had a bad experience in fifth grade. That's only an example, contest judges try really hard to be subjective. Or it just isn't your time yet, whatever that means. So we drive ourselves harder. Because that's how it works in the world. Of which we are not.
Thanks, may be back later.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

OH DEAR, I meant "contest judges try really hard to be objective." I'd delete the comment, but the rest of it isn't bad. Sigh.
Kathy Bailey

Casey Herringshaw said...

Julia, Present Over Perfect changed my WHOLE perspective even with how I view my writing. Her line about "when what we love doing becomes an obligation" WOW. BAM. That hit me between the eyes. Because too often my writing IS an obligation and not something I really want to be doing. There are seasons of knuckling down and getting 'er done, but I also want to be able to spend my time outside of my normal obligations coming from a place of being full, as you said. And not empty, trying to dredge up the smallest offering.

Casey Herringshaw said...

Kathy, I love your line about not letting your plan work you. THAT is perfect. We can become so obsessed with the next "plan" when the next "plan" from God might be to just sit at his feet and worship him, letting him fill us up so that he can in turn, pour us out into our writing. Have you read Allen Arnold's book yet, The Story of With? This would walk in tandem so well with your comments here. It's a book I highly recommend for any and all creatives (and even those who want to walk closer with the Lord.)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thank you, Casey. What a heartfelt post. Well done.

Casey Herringshaw said...

Thanks, Mare. :)