Getting up is easy. Getting to work can be hard.
I’m a light sleeper, waking up multiple times throughout the night. At some point (and this happens every night), my back starts to hurt. That’s when I know it’s time to get up, and that’s usually between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. Exhausted from a couple days of travel, this morning was no different. There was that dull ache in my back. I rolled onto my side, my eyes sidled the clock on the nightstand (4:11 a.m.), and it was time. I pushed back the counterpane and bounced out of the bed.
I’m a morning person, so getting up isn’t an issue for me. I love the quiet time as I write my Morning Pages. It’s the guaranteed time of the day when I can truly hear myself think. While I’m quick to rise, I’m not always so quick to settle in at my desk and write. Most days there isn’t an issue. Others, like today, are a struggle. I just felt “off.” Do you know what I mean? There’s nothing wrong, per se. I just didn’t feel in my groove, that I was a bit out of sorts, like I was spinning. In a word: I was restless.
When I’m honest with myself, I know what the problem is. I’m at a crossroads with a novel I’ve been working on. After four major rewrites, it’s still mammoth at 120,000 words. I realized after the third rewrite that I could turn this into two novels. I’m struggling to figure out where to break the story. I’ve put it aside for the moment, but mentally I haven’t let it go. And that’s holding me back, making me feel like I’m not making progress.
Feeling unsettled this morning, I went for a walk and ended up having breakfast at Atlas Espresso Bar (great coffee, by the way, for those in Toronto or those who may be visiting!). When I’m out walking, and often when I run, something magical happens: Clarity.
I’m an artist, and this morning I remembered the importance of taking the longer view. Each day that I show up to write moves me forward on my creative journey. Some days I might only get down two hundred words. Other days, working in two-hour segments, I might get in three to four writing sessions. Each day’s work, no matter how big or small, is a valuable contribution to the larger body of work I’m trying to create. The important thing is that I keep at it, steady as she goes.
Taking the longer view, maybe I’ve been a little hard on myself and have let my inner critic have dominion over me. I have made progress — on this writing project and others. I’m working hard to blog regularly. I’m still producing my Twitter Fiction Tuesdays (#TwitFicTues) series. I am showing up to write every day and proving — to the world, and more importantly to myself — that I have grit.
It really is a matter of perspective. Sometimes, weathering the storm, it’s hard to see clearly the track that has been laid, how far along I’ve actually come. That’s why we can only take life one day at a time and, as artists, show up each day to do what really excites us. Let our passion fuel us, help us to love the moment in which we find ourselves, and give our very best to our work.
How is your creative journey progressing? Let me know in the comments section below.
Today’s post is inspired by the Word Press Daily Prompt: Grit