A passion for living life and recording it is in a word - storytelling. For me, there is nothing more compelling (outside of the gospel) than living this beautiful, messy life and recording it. And yet, I struggle to balance the living and the telling.
There shouldn't be a tension between documenting life and living it. The storytelling should be a natural by-product of the living. Words, pictures, paper and pixils...I want them to come together organically and seamlessly as life unfolds. So why aren't they?
I've come up with three reasons:
1. Clean & Organize
The professional [writer] is on a mission. She will not tolerate disorder. She eliminates chaos from her world in order to banish it from her mind. She wants the carpet vacuumed and the threshold swept, so the Muse may enter and not soil her gown.
I learned last year that I can't write without a sparking clean and methodically organized home. While I've put this principle into practice, it's not much help with an unorganized mind. This leads us to #2.
2. Plan & Finish
I want to show up here on a regular schedule (Mondays & Wednedays) and write something helpful and share an inspiring photograph or two, but that's always proved both my greatest hope and challenge. Shouldn't it be as simple as creating balance?
I stopped striving for balance a couple years back. As far as I can tell, there's no such thing as balance. If we do manage to achieve it, it's like our goal weight. We stumbled onto it at one point ten years ago and hold onto it as our standard for ourselves. The idea of balance haunts us more than it helps.
What works better than balance? Making a plan and finishing projects one by one. It may be late and it won't be perfect, but it's finished and it's in the finishing where the magic lies.
This month, I took three weeks to create an editorial calendar spanning through December 2015. All magazines, print and pixils, publish based on an editorial calendar. The editorial calendar is a content outline (subject to change) of what is planned for publication.
An editorial calendar gives us a place to hold our ideas so we're not overwhelmed. Just as the books in my library sit on shelves organized by color, my ideas now sit in tables organized by month and date.
As an example (disclaimer: don't hold me to this list), here's a look at August's calendar:
Now my ideas have a place, a shelf on which to sit neatly awaiting their turn to come to life. Now that my thoughts are organized, I can go back to creating.
Clean the house, run the errands, and when they are done...at least for the moment, sit down and make a list of your unfinished projects and ideas, and see them through from start to finish, one by one.
3. Balance Input & Output
I've always loved reading the newest books and this month's issue of Vanity Fair, INSTYLE & Vogue, but my input isn't balanced with my output. I'm taking in more of the creations of others than I'm producing myself. So for now, I've canceled my subscriptions to Vogue, Vanity Fair, W, Elle Decor , and after 12 years...INSTYLE, too. It's time to balance my inputs with my output.
Julia Cameron, an acclaimed creative genius and a prolific writer says in The Artist's Way, "It is not excessive outflow that damages artists so much as increased inflow. Without the time and space to metabolize our impressions, we could easily become flooded by too many stimuli."
Are you suffering from media mayhem? For me, it was too much print media. For you, it may be social media or your social calendar, but if we're struggling to create it's time to start trimming the stimuli.
It is reassuring to realize once again that we don't have to anxiously study the world around us in order to keep up with God and his ways with us. - Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
Is there something you dream of pursuing yet a feeling of chaos is holding you back? My encouragement today is to clean and organize, plan and finish, and keep the input balanced with the output.
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