cognitive leap

The following revelation is brought to you by…

Yet another 20 minute video, found here,

This lovely jpg file, found via Living A Beautiful Life

and just a little bit of this

(funny how that works, huh Allison? :-D)

I’ve been fighting with my writing. The urge is still there. I can prioritize and reformat my life all I want but in the end, there’s still something missing, something that I’m supposed to be carving out my life to make room for… and that something is writing. It is hard. It is so, so hard. And a part of me wishes I could forget all about it and find something easier to aspire towards. I have been writing stories since before I could physically write, writing in earnest since my second year of college, writing novels for almost 3 years. Writing is a part of me, and when I’m not doing it, I experience this existential kind of pain. And when I have been in my best of writing moods, the difficulty of my task is what I love. School comes easily to me. Relationships are fairly smooth waters. I thrive at my job. I eat, I sleep, I exercise, I watch TV, and all that stuff is easy.

Writing is the singular challenge in my world.

Writing and I are fighting, yes. I feel like I’m waiting for a cognitive leap – to chance upon a piece of information that will help me turn my ideas into a story, help me turn my stories into publishable books. I’ve felt like until I feel capable of throwing a brilliant, best-selling, critically acclaimed story directly from my brain to Word doc, that I am not ready to write.

About that, I am wrong.

Maybe inspiration and creativity isn’t something to be thought over, processed, and accumulated, but granted by some combination of luck, persistance, and grace.

I know I can’t worry about the quality of my work until after said work exists on the page… even though I haven’tbeen practicing this at all.

And in order for any of my dreams to happen, I have to be there, writing.

Yesterday was yoga class, which I pretend to like but all truth be told – it kind of sucks. It’s uncomfortable, the room is too cold, and with my sisters there I find it hard to Zen Out. Just like every other group fitness class I’ve taken, I want to get the hell out after about fifteen minutes. Occasionally, I have a very nice session, but usually, I lay on my mat in Final Relaxation Pose, grateful that the mild torture has ended.

“Why do I even bother coming?” I asked myself yesterday, shivering flat on my back waiting for my instructor to bring me an eye pillow to block out the flourescent lights.

And the answer came easily to me. Almost every time I think about exercising, I feel the same way. I simply do not want to do it. I have no runner’s high, no endorphin surge when I’m done. I work out because A) it helps my self-esteem and body image B) if I don’t move them enough, my muscles get irritatingly sore C) I still harbor occasional weight-loss dreams. Not because I like it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made the five minute drive, almost in tears because I just Do Not Want To Go.

But I also know that Getting There is half of what I don’t like about it – the gathering of materials, the charging of the iPod, the changing of clothes – and that even if I get on a treadmill for 2 minutes, find myself exhausted in tears that I Just Do Not Want To Exercise, then that will be okay. That 2 minutes was better than no minutes. When it comes to working out, I know very well that Doing Something is Always Good, no matter how small or short or easy or hard that something is.

It’s why I go to yoga class week after week. I might be borderline miserable, trying not to collapse out of yet another 700-minute stay in the Dreaded Downward Dog, but it’s Something. I’m trying. I’m hopefully getting better at it. It will hopefully get easier.

The parallel hit me as I lay prostrate on my yoga mat.

My job isn’t to think brilliant thoughts, read the best books, craft perfect sentences, or divine the Secrets of Storytelling.

My job is to Show Up

at the computer

every day

and wait to see what happens.


5 Comments to “cognitive leap”

  1. i could have written this entry. exactly. except, i love yoga. but, unlike you, i dont work out. the idea of parading my fat thighs around a gym, even though it is for the betterment of ME, scares me to death. so yoga is the way i can tell myself i am exercising, and not totally be lying. plus its for school credit, and i keep giggling over how easy it is to get those last 2 hours needed.

    i think thats why i was so excited over my last story – i was WRITING, and it was FUN even if it wasn’t necessarily GOOD. i have billions of ideas, and i keep saying “if i just sit down, ill get them out. and maybe the first draft will suck, but i can get better. i cant get better if i dont even get it down.” but still my butt will NOT go to that computer chair, and if it does, it does the opposite of your happy yellow flyer – checks email over and over, checks lj/blogger, wastes time on facebook. i just need to push myself more, i think, because when i actually write, im very happy. its thinking about writing that makes me feel worthless.

  2. My favorite part of yoga is laying on the floor after and not thinking of anything. Ahhhhhh.
    I love the 7 ways to stifle creativity pic and can relate to a few of those, unfortunately.

  3. Ugh. Do I ever know what you are talking about. Writing and I haven’t been fighting–we’ve been more like a long married couple with a dead marriage.

  4. thanks for the linkage, not least because I got to read this post.

    Um, wow? I’ve been struggling with the fact that suddenly I’ve gained weight and my long-cherish hatred of exercise is now showing. And, um, I hate it. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

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