In many ways, this is the best time in the history of the world to be a writer or a creative entrepreneur. I absolutely believe that overall, that’s a true statement. We have access to so much information, inspiration, and the potential for community. It’s never been easier to share your creative work with the world. It’s never been easier to develop an independent business around your art.
However, some of the deepest pitfalls that have always existed for writers are accentuated by the world we now live in. Writers and other artists have always been their own worst critics. And perspective can be difficult to find in a world filled with the bright, the shiny, the NEW.
Every day we see an awesome new book cover, a great series we can’t believe we haven’t stumbled on before, or an author (new to us or one of our favorites) releasing a brand new book baby into the world. Distraction, comparison-itis, and fragmentation dominate our mental landscape.
But you can tune out the noise and begin to live your creative dream life, with small steps taken every day. You might even find you already have a lot of what you’re looking for. A shift in perspective to gratitude and joy will go a long way to reinvigorating your art, too.
So….here’s an exercise. And by the way, what I’m about to go into applies to all sorts of dreams, not just to creatives.
Sit for a moment and create a picture in your mind of where you were – who you were – five years ago.
How did you spend your days?
How much of what you spent time doing felt valuable to you?
Now…zoom forward in time to today.
What has changed?
Are you now spending more of your time on what feels valuable to you?
If not, why not?
Think forward to five years from now.
Where do you want to be?
What do you want to be doing with your time?
Really visualize (journaling helps tremendously with this). Think about what you want your daily/weekly life to look like in five years’ time. Do a little math for where that puts you in terms of your age, the age of your children if you have them, the development of your career. Think of the small stuff – so much of the good stuff in life is in the small stuff. What does your life look like in that future?
How do you feel in that future?
Can you picture it?
Now WRITE IT DOWN.
Next – as in tomorrow – start living your dream life to the best of your ability.
Many of us writers and artists crave more time to work on our art and breathe life into it as we send it out into the wild. You might not be able to drop the day job yet as your dream-self-in-five-years has done. But you can start taking the steps toward progress that will get you there if you put in the work consistently, every day. You just have to start somewhere and keep moving toward that pretty picture of the future you want.
You know what I notice when I think this way – visualizing where I want to be in five years and how I want to be spending my time? Most of my life is already my dream life. And I would NEVER trade time with my young kids for those extra hours that I crave for art. The parts of my life that don’t fit the dream are temporary and PRECIOUS. It’s another sort of dream life and writing can wait while I get to experience this. I wouldn’t give hours with my kids up for all the riches and quiet moments in the history of the world.
Sometimes I just need to slow down a little, adjust my perspective, and remember to enjoy what I already have.
You get one life. Are you living it how you want to? That’s a choice we get to make every day. Show up and create what we want…or not. I hope you choose to show up, because I can’t wait to see what you’ll make.
Take care and be happy, dear readers! I wish you less stress and comparison-itis and more laughter and contentment. Go forth and be great!!