Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thoughts Thursday: What Thoughts Hold You Back From Your Goals?

When you go through your day, do you think about the thoughts that weigh you down and prevent you from being the best you can be?

It is natural for all of us to worry about something. Being trapped inside your skull with only yourself as company is an issue when it comes to self-perception and your place in the universe can be quite a problem. Now imagine needing that mind to create amazing things and yet you're paralyzed into doing nothing but clicking on the next YouTube video and waiting for "inspiration" to strike.

Let's be honest: You're avoiding something.

How do you tackle the thoughts holding you back from your goals?

There are many ways to do it, and that's all right. The beauty of having the experience is that there are many ways to live life, but there are a few parameters you want to keep in mind when you are doing this:

  1. You must be honest with yourself about the thought limiting your skills. If you aren't honest, you'll never achieve the creative level you want.
  2. You must be willing to "bleed" for this salvation. It seems a little extreme, and I can understand why it would. This idea is a festering wound. In order to receive healing, you must open it up again and really clean it out.
  3. You are willing to let it go. There are times I thought my limiting beliefs were the ones that defined me. If I didn't have (x), then I wouldn't be me anymore so I had to hold onto it.
  4. You are willing to go to the next thought. Remember, this is a small branch attached to a larger tree at times. You might need to break out the ax and start swinging.

What was your limiting belief that stopped your creativity?

That's a very good question, and I won't bore you with the long journey I took to get to this point. I went through a lot to get where I was today, and the perceptions on what I thought twisted my mind and blackened my heart. After suffering through abuse (both sexual and mental) and manifesting some monstrous abilities (the wounded soul lurking in the dark), I decided it was enough.

The first thought was why I couldn't hold onto money. When I was really honest with myself, I found the branch that led to a very large and very dark tree. The branches were twisted, turned, filled with knots and holes, and scared the living daylights out of me. Was I really that bundled in my emotions?

I really was.

People appeared in my life at that point to help me with certain aspects. When I dealt with more limbs, I found more help. When I accepted things and rejected others, more opportunities flowed and allowed me to really dig deep. I even threatened to walk away from it all, and then the chance to learn something comprehensive and understand what I was really walking away from reared its head.

And then I stood out on the Santa Cruz pier last Saturday (April 20th, 2013 for those of you reading IN THE FUTURE!) and realized there was something I hadn't dealt with.

It was multilayered fear and the symbolism of the ocean.

Now I will be more than happy to get into the details on Tuesday, but for now let's say that even the primal fears can indeed have more context and hold you back from being the best you can be.

What can I do to eliminate the limiting fears and maximize my creativity?

There are a few ways to do this, but each person is different. Aside from visiting a therapist, there are other ways to look at and release the limiting fears in your life. EFT is one of them that worked for me. Working with mentors (both professionally and personally) is another. I've purchased a few more tools along the way and I'll break them down in some of these posts in the future.

All it takes is some action, and all you must do is take the first step. You too can maximize your creativity and reduce your limiting fears to become the best you can be.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Writer's Wednesday: Taking the First Step in Regaining Writing Momentum

Image provided by Wikimedia Commons
This shouldn't come as a surprise to most people who know me, but I took a huge step today that I think shows progress in my abilities and confidence in myself. I submitted two pieces to two different anthologies. Both are darker in nature, and a few people I know and trust as well as the people who edited them received it very well (by the way, if you're looking for a great editor, you should check out MEKincade—Just leave appointment times for me).

So, how did we get here, after all this time I threatened to walk away from it all and never pick up a keyboard/pencil/paper again?

Regaining Faith in Writing

This isn't about having the faith to type one word after another, putting punctuation somewhere in the line, and holding it out for people to read. No, this was about ripping apart everything I thought I knew about writing and examining it as someone who was an outside observer. There were steps I discovered, flaws I knew I had, and an answer that became very clear once I got over the internal objections and the bad habits.

Breaking the Bad Writing Habits

There are times when writers have habits built up to excuse the flaws they have. Often we point to novels and other familiar tomes when we say, "See? This author did it and it is on a dead tree!"

Just because they did it that way doesn't mean it is right, nor did they know they were doing it in the first place. In fact, if they were approached by that very same flaw with a new way to view it, they would jettison it as well.

So many people tell young writers and authors to read in the genre they want to write in, absorb every word, and digest it into their own written piece.

Stop that.

Doing this is akin to someone pulling out a roll of blueprints, handing them over to someone, and expecting them to pour concrete or dig a hole for plants without knowledge on how to read the plans. It's great that you might glean a shred of understanding ("Oh, that squiggly line means a palm tree!"), but without more study and knowledge, you'll never get to the level you want in writing without learning about the structure first.

The Flaws of a Bad Writing Habit

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'll point out my biggest flaw and one I can point out with some of the larger names right now in the writing industry: Having an ending to a story.

There was a part of me that wanted to be artistic in what I wrote. Heck, I even fought people on the concept of endings, about how they are supposed to be ambiguous and unfulfilling because that is how life is for most of us. We never have the clean resolutions.

That's where I was wrong.

This isn't about mimicking life and all its aspects. It's about reflecting life and the need to escape it, even for one minute. This is where the great masters have applied their trade and their devoted fans stretch across race, creed, time, and status. They give the resolution to a great story to give closure to someone trying to escape their life, and draw them in for the next time they might dangle the next story out there.

Examining Writing as an Outsider

When I walked away from it all for a few months, I started digging into some of the great blogs and books out there that would help me see this from a different point of view. Some were encouraging, others were scathing, and even a few might make me cry (if I weren't crying already from disappointment myself).

Then other areas opened, methods of dealing with the personal disappointment and anxiety, ways to process the thoughts bubbling in my brain and see that they weren't really about my desires, but reflecting my fears about taking the next step, getting out there and failing at writing, and even accepting that I could walk away from it all, but knowing that I couldn't.

Many writers will tell you the same thing: It's in our blood.

However, I'll put it another way. Have you ever tried being normal when a thousand characters are yelling at you in your mind about walking away?

Yeah, try being mostly sane with that little nervous tick.

So, are you willing to accept your writing flaw?

Will you put aside the pride and connection with your work to see what is really holding you back? Are you ready to walk away from it all and never return? What would you do in this situation? Do you think there's a certain level of insanity or growth needed to do all this?

Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to have a dialogue with you about this.