I'm sitting on my deck. The black eyed juncos are flitting about and tweeting. The new green woodland leaves are shining in the sun. It's a delightful day, with a soft warm breeze swishing the branches above me.
And, of course, there's a loud machine (maybe a chainsaw?) making an "ERRRRRRR" sound somewhere nearby in the neighborhood.
Earlier today I taught a class for Summer of Enchanted Writing, where we discussed duality and paradox.
Right now, I'm experiencing the duality of my yard being a gorgeous, peaceful, woodland space, while my nervous system gets jolted by a very loud machine. I also know tomorrow I'm going to be the one in the neighborhood making the same noise with one of my loud machines.
The duality I learned about my creative life in today's class was that for me to write and actively create I need to rest, a lot. Rest is my beginning point of action, which is true for most of nature. The seed resting in the ground is the beginning point of growth.
A duality I'm working with for a writing project is that to do a big project (a novella) I need to focus only on the most tiny possible next step.
Creativity isn't an either/or process. Creativity lives in the both/and.
It's both scary to write and deeply fulfilling.
Writing is both hard work and there can be ease found in the process.
You can both have creative blocks and create.
Your voice can be both joyful and angry, funny and sad, serious and silly...and on and on.
If you're feeling stuck with your writing or your creativity, look to see where you have either/or thinking.
Do you think you have to be free from all your blocks before you write?
Do you think the only way to be a writer is to be published?
Do you think the only way to be respected as a writer is to write a book worthy of the Pulitzer prize?
Then consider how both/and thinking can help.
Can you both work towards dissolving your writing blocks and continue writing?
Can you be both a writer and be unpublished?
Can you be both respected and not have a Pulitzer prize?
Both/And thinking can free you up to discover solutions you might not have seen before.
P.S. If you feel stuck in your writing process I would love to help you out. Email me if you're interested in doing a coaching session. My sessions are compassionate spaces where you can be exactly who you are, while you discover solutions to your writing challenges. (45 minute sessions are $97, and 75 minute sessions are $150)
P.P.S. I just finished reading Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker, and it was amazing. It's a big, challenging, beautiful read that would be great if you want to get lost in a big cast of characters with complex stories.