Let It Breathe

I'm really great at a lot of things. Relaxing is not one of them. Especially when it comes to my work. I think I've gone to the extremities of "strong work ethic" and have entered the land of perfectionist. Perfectionism used to sound perfectly fine with me - who didn't want PERFECT work?! But I realize that in my life, it has become a burden I no longer chose to bare.

At first I didn't even notice it. I was extremely productive and was always praised for being great at whatever the job was. My jobs all had some sort of an "always on" type schedule - the type of work that spills over and doesn't really respect a time clock. I was with it and in fact I think it works for better for me. These jobs were also pretty competitive and I always felt I had to do great to ensure my job security. While these "push it," "you da best" and "get it done" qualities served me well, that type of disposition doesn't really translate when it comes to my creative endeavors. When I attempt to just woman up, push through and write, I end up with some shit. Just awful stories and to add insult to injury, sometimes absolutely no words will come. In work situations thus far, I've learned to focus focus focus and do do do. When I go that route in my creativity, I end up with just that - doodoo.

In April, I experienced such a rough time trying to write. I did everything I'd heard would help - I set firm deadlines, I made a calendar with all the deadlines of the networks writing contests, I took online courses and re-reviewed all the material from classes I'd taken in the past. I would even engage my friends in writing discussions and listen to "The Moment with Brian Koppleman. I pushed and pushed and pushed and got nowhere. I was so devastated and thought it was time to face the music that maybe I just wasn't cut out to write. Then the universe stepped in.

I got the exact type of job I was seeking - a writer's assistant job. My new boss is an old friend and the timing just so happened to work out for us both to jump on a project together. His approach when it comes to his craft is unlike anything I've ever experienced - and until today, I absolutely loathed it. He had no concrete/harsh deadlines - he'd say things like "I'm letting it breathe". He didn't do things the same way everyday. Some days, he'd scrap everything he'd done until that point and go in a totally new direction THEN come back. My head was spinning. I tried to be myself - my assistant self that is - and be gracious and try to be perfect. He wasn't having it and told me that my energy was not conducive to the process. I bout lost my shit. I was steaming. My nerves been so bad. Clearly I know how to be an assistant so he must be tripping.

He wasn't.

I'm at this job to learn about writing. I respect his work and accomplishments so I know he has to have some sort of system, but I just couldn't figure out how we'd get anything done like this! We had been doing was notes everyday. Just the same facts we knew about the story over and over and over. Once we'd have a plan and go in that direction, everything would completely change and we'd go off into another story. On top of trying to keep up with the notes, our work schedule kept adjusting. To this point, I've tried to place my creativity on the schedule like my work day would flow. He doesn't see it that way. Sometimes we start bright and early, sometimes late at night. He writes when spirit touches him and thus we work around the fluidity that spirit brings. Even though clock in time kept changing, everyday felt the same. EVERY day I took the notes and did what I was told but I was NOT digging this AT ALL. Until today.

Today and right on time with the calendar only I seem to be concerned with, I realized the magic this guy was creating. We had weeks of super repetitive notes that somehow became an outline. We have a story. I love the characters and see them living in my head. Nothing became something in just one moment. That moment wasn't so unlike the rest - I can't even tell you what clicked. It just happened. He approached his work as if it was something he was attracting. Watching him "catch" it today was so reaffirming. It made me realize how my pensive attitude was probably holding me back. In my own work, I was not attracting, I was resisting. 

Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.
— "The War of Art" Stephen Pressfield

Allowing the process and letting my work breath is the goal.