I may be a free-wheelin’ pantser with an aversion to plotting, but I still like to plan. “I’m going to write this e-book by then! I’m going to work on chapter four of this novel the entire weekend! I’m going to sit my butt in this chair and get THIS part DONE.”
But I’m coming to realize that this isn’t necessarily how creativity works. Inspiration doesn’t like to be confined. Sometimes planning can become a prison.
We tell ourselves that this is the way it should work. That we should sit down and bang it out. And by God, I am in charge of what “it” is!
I truly believe that as a writer, as any kind of artist, we are channel for something bigger. While it’s important to be committed to our projects, I think we also need to remember that we are here to midwife creation, not to dictate what that creation will look like.
Similar to the importance of changing the way we think about our crappy first drafts, this is all about a simple shift of attitude.
It’s about saying:
I’m going to show up for what wants to be expressed, instead of sitting down in a pile of shoulds.
The shoulds are stifling. They are stinky. And half the time we don’t even know we’re sitting in them! Yet we wonder why we’re so uncomfortable and the words don’t seem to flow.
The more I release the shoulds, the freer I am to write awesome, inspired words. The more I release the shoulds, the more available I am to inspiration. The muse can’t communicate with us if we have our fingers in our ears.
I love being surprised by my creations. Whether it is an awesome scene for my current WIP, a poem, a bit of flash fiction, or something else entirely (its purpose I may not yet understand,) the surprise factor only happens when I get out of my own way, stop should-ing myself, and let my muse speak.
If you’re feeling stuck, give it a try. Let go of the well intended plans, the stinky, stifling shoulds, and allow yourself to be the channel that you are.