Crossing the Threshold

Mar 20, 2020

Here is a photo of me with my dear friend's new baby.

Babies are amazing threshold experiences, meaning they are experiences where you can mark a clear before and after with no turning back.

There is the day before labor, where everything is one way, and the day after labor, where everything is different.

Joseph Campbell said every story has a threshold, a place the hero embarks on an adventure and life is never the same again.

I've had many threshold experiences in my life.

There was "before and after" I got sober.

There was "before and after" I chose to go no-contact with abusive people in my family.

There was "before and after" I moved from cold and snowy New Hampshire to bright and sunny California.

Each threshold was a door that clicked closed with no turning back.

When I am in the midst of a threshold experience, three things usually happen.

  1. I first get disoriented, waiting for my life to go back to normal, the way how it used to be.
  2. At some point I realize my life is not going to go back to normal.
  3. I intentionally create my new life.

Getting sober was incredibly disorienting. I kept thinking someday I would go out late at night with my friends again, but it never happened, because they went to bars and I all of a sudden didn’t go to bars anymore.

After a few months, I began to realize I was never going to go out late at night in a bar again. So strange.

It was then that I started intentionally doing interesting things during the day. I went out hiking. I went out for lunch. I went on long, beautiful drives in the mountains. Soon, my daylife seemed much more compelling than my old nightlife.

Threshold experiences change how you exist in the world - either with your physical life or with your worldview.

They are the diagnosis you might get, the new job, the new house, the death in the family, the realization of a truth you can't unsee, the pandemic virus, the spiritual awakening, or the new baby.

And then there's the threshold we focus on in this space - the creative threshold of "before you start writing your stories" and "after you start writing your stories".

To cross this creative threshold you need do only two things - 1. begin writing and 2. don’t stop writing.

You can cross the writerly threshold with any kind of writing.

You could start your novel and never stop writing it.

You could write in your journal and keep on journaling.

You could post on social media and keep on posting.

Before I crossed my writerly threshold I had wanted to write stories. I actually would sometimes, but I never committed in my heart to write. It was random and unsatisfying.

I crossed the writerly threshold when I published my first blog post telling the story of a personal life experience and never stopped blogging.

I moved through the same three phases I always move through with thresholds.

It was slightly disorienting. I didn’t know whether to call myself a writer or not, and I kept expecting myself to give up and stop writing, because that’s what I had always done before. But then I didn’t give up, and after a few months I realized I was going to keep on writing.

That's when I started intentionally creating my new life as a writer: clearing my schedule, doing official writing sessions, and making writing more and more of a priority.

The interesting thing about creative thresholds is they are thresholds you choose rather than thresholds which are forced upon you. These kinds thresholds require some oomph, some moment when you gather your courage and say, “This is it. Let's do it.”

This courage gathering often happens on the heels of realizing a truth.

You might wake up one day and wonder how your life became so dull. You suddenly feel withered and parched in your soul, and you don't know how long you've felt that way. Seeing the reality of this truth might help you gather the courage to claim your creative life and write.

You could have an experience where you become incredibly envious, even angry, at writers who are sharing their work. When you explore this envy you might see the truth that the only way to dissolve the envy is for you to start writing. This is high motivation to cross the writerly threshold.

Or maybe you gather your courage in a time like this, when the world goes topsy turvy, what's important comes into sharp focus, and you suddenly know writing is the most important thing for you to do, even if you can't say why.

However the threshold moment gets initiated, here is what I suggest - grasp it by the horns and don’t let go.

Let yourself be disoriented. Let yourself worry everything will go back to how it used to be, but don’t stop writing. When you realize you’re really doing it, let yourself actively participate in the creation of this new life by owning the importance of your craft and setting aside conscious time to write.

When you do this, you will have crossed the writerly threshold, and your creative life will never be the same again.




P.S. Let’s cross the threshold together. I’m a writing coach for tender, deep-hearted, and introspective women with a story to tell. I would love to help you grasp your creative life by the horns, start writing, and create a whole new life where you get to tell your stories. Find out more about my private online coaching program at The Writing Dream Tracker (You + Me + Weekly Online Check-ins = Your Writing Dreams Coming True)


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