Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River. Sandra Lee Schubert

Problems, Problem, Problems Everywhere

I have mastered the art of problem solving. Sort of. The problem with problems is that they don’t ever stop. Solve one and another one shows up. They become like an infestation- taking over your life in unexpected places.
When I think about the nature of problems in my life I think of a particular arcade game played at fairs. The ducks come out in a row and you have to shoot them down one by one. You can do easily enough to start but then the game kicks in and those ducks come out faster. At some point all your attention is focused on solving the problem. That has been my life. They are these challenges I most figure out. I feel a certain pride and satisfaction in figuring them out. I have become enamored of my problems.

In his book, Your Life as Art Robert Fritz tells me to try a different approach. He says, "Instead of letting your life be dominated by problems, begin to focus your attention, energy, creativity, and spirit on creating."
There are a couple of problems I must tackle right now. I can’t avoid them. They actually don’t require much figuring out, I just have to take action each day toward getting the problem alleviated. It is like moving- it is a big job. Each day you must purge junk, pack non-essential items, buy more boxes and tape. The goal is to move- it is not a problem. The process of moving is not necessarily pleasant but the end result is the fun part.

While I work out issues I also engage in my creativity. I am creating goals that are larger, better and more fun then problems. I take Robert Fritz’s advice to heart, “Shift the topic from what want to avoid, eradicate, or eliminate, to what you want to create, build, and produce. And let your mind help you in the process.” I’ll let my mind work out my problems. In the meantime I have some creating to do.

What do you really want? Think about it. What do you deeply desire?

Take a blank piece of paper and draw a box along the top. The top box will be your goal. At the bottom of the page will be the box for your current reality. All the space in-between will be your action steps. See the sample below.

Goal: A successful e-book on the senses. The e-book produces great sales for the e-book, my course and other products I develop.

  • Add edits to e-book
  • Check layout of text
  • Research places to promote e-book
  • Fix blog site and add link for e-book

Current Reality: E-book is mostly done. Peer review has been done. Edits needed to be added, graphics, personal references into individual chapters.

Sandra Lee Schubert is a creative vagabond, a poet, writer and dabbler in the arts and online entrepreneur. She co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. She is also the creator of the e-course, Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Writing for life.
Email her or @writing4life via twitter

1 comment:

miriam said...

The problem with focusing on the positive, on what you want, is that the negatives, the problems, are not dealt with, and thereby sabotage your efforts, and you do too by not addressing them. I think it's a question of organization and thinking small. I know this is not in vogue right now, and believe me, as a perhaps cliche artistic temperment (there are many kinds of artistic temperment, and a lot don't have anything to do with the kind of drama and revolution I identify with -- many artists, with van Gogh and the others of his and my idealistic ilk being notable and I guess noteworthy exceptions, have a workmanlike and accepting, passive nature) these things have had no appeal to me for most of my life. All I can say is the idealism hasn't worked for me .. it's led me to its opposite, despair. Only by focusing, albeit positively, on where I am and what can be done right now, realistically, have I been able to move forward.