What to do When Your Rhythm Changes

An excerpt taken from my new book, Indie Confidence: Finding the Gumption to Get Your Story Out of Your Bones and Into the World.

It was not supposed to happen this way.

Earlier this year, I developed a rhythm that felt true to my season. Wake up at 4:44, write for a bit,  go to work. In my mind, I figured that season was only temporary and eventually I would have the mental acuity to jump back into creative challenges like writing a novel and facilitating a writing community. I mean, I’d done something like this before — I wrote my first book while teaching full time, writing curriculum for a completely new class, and commuting to and from the school. Surely I could do it now?

I put on my super hero cape and waited for the moment to happen. It never did. For the next few months, my best thing would be managing to make myself dinner seconds before I collapsed on the couch and binge-watched episodes of Homeland.

But I kept thinking: it'll be over soon. It'll be over soon. It'll be over soon.

The way our training went, we had a five week intensive before getting out on the floor with heavy supervision. During this week, they were watching for signs of folding under pressure. They were also looking for what happens when we exceed expectations. At the beginning of August, right before I was going to be placed on a team, I received an email.

Because of my performance, I was selected for the Business team. Better hours, easier customers, swift potential for growth, and spiff pay. 

I called my dad in shock. "I think I was just promoted?" I questioned, half laughing. From that point on, feedback was consistent: you're here because you're good. You're here because they see you as the best. You're here because you're talented and intellectual and you're going to kick ass. 

But this was at work. At home I was drooling on the couch. There was no productivity happening. It was a miracle when I had the energy to do the dishes. For weeks, I held on to the beginning of August as a green light. THIS would be the moment I would get with the schedule and understand what I can and cannot do. THIS will be the catalyst of really letting the information I learned sink deeper than surface level. I won't merely be surviving at this point — I'll be deep in a rhythm.

And then my rhythm changed. Again. The moment I gained control, it was ripped out of my hands. And man if this isn't a metaphor for blogging or art in general.

You suffer through a few mornings of stumbling into your writing space to pen some words, knowing at any moment, the novel you know is buried somewhere within you will surface. Then, the day after the words finally break free, your schedule significantly changes and you lose that rhythm....

Or maybe you make plans to write three times a week. You have everything down to the letter and have never felt more inspired. But then, you stumble across an author’s website that has the exact same aesthetic as you, thousands of readers, and even makes you feel as if you're reading your words. In any other world, you would feel as if you found a kindred. In this world, crashing into this corner of the internet has left you with every single doubt and not a shred of words you had before....

If this is you, I want to say this: you're not alone and it doesn't have to stay this way.

I'm not sure when the shift happened for me. I was on the business team for about three weeks before things started to have their own flow. I woke up with Russ in the morning and had a cup of coffee while I wrote some words. I remembered the beauty of journaling for ME and no one else. I forced myself to do that which inspires, rather than deadens.

And hello, conviction: Netflix is great for a moment, maybe a few. But it most assuredly deadens that creative flow. 

We all feed the river in different ways, and because of this, there are different ways in which Fear creates a dam, blocking our flow and inspiration.

For me, it was the uncertainty of rhythm. Might as well not create anything if I can't be consistent, was something I heard myself whisper many times during August. 

Don’t be afraid to battle those things holding you back. Brainstorm what it looks like for YOU to write and finish a book — not the entirety of the industry. Cling tight to the truth that there are words still holding on for dear life internally, and eventually, your story will be told because you chose to listen to the voices saying you can push through any resistance that heads your way. 

That's what makes the indie community great: individually, we can do pretty impressive things. Collectively, we're unstoppable.

Thoughts to Consider: 

1. How are you waiting for the future in order to create? How can you harness where you're at now to begin a rhythm?

2. How is Fear creating a dam in your creative flow and inspiration? 

Grab My New Book! 

This book is for the creative who knows you have a story to tell but you have no idea where to start.
Let me help you: you don't have to wait for the gatekeepers anymore. 

The time for your book is now. There is no excuse. You know this — you feel it in your bones. That's what this book is for — that's why I wrote it. 

Ready to begin?

Find it here on Amazon.

Posted on July 18, 2016 and filed under Building Your Craft, Indie Publishing.