Monday, January 19, 2009

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Creating and Hope

Hope is a word we’ve been hearing a lot lately. Our incoming President based his campaign on hope. We all hope the economy will get better, we hope we won’t lose our homes and we hope to keep our jobs.

I began to wonder how hope motivates creating. Is it a good thing or does it stifle us? Like most things in our life, if we don’t overindulge, hope can drive us to create. It’s okay to fantasize about writing the next “Harry Potter” or “Twilight” if that puts your butt in the chair and motivates you to write. Even something as simple as, “If one person sees my words and is touched by them, I’ve done my job as a writer” can be used to get you writing.

Where hope can hold us back is when we fall into the trap of, “I hope I can find time to write.” “I hope I have the best case scenario to get some work done.” When you see statements like this in print they look ridiculous. We know this is not common sense, yet we easily allow ourselves to fall into these traps over and over again.
As I write this piece, I’m waiting for my husband to finish the yard work before we run errands. It’s not a large chunk of time, but learning to seize these tiny moments is one step forward in my writing goals.

It’s important to remember that hope is only a beginning. I hope someday to reach all of my writing goals, to write everyday and confidently define myself as a writer. However, what I know is that it takes work and dedication. I can’t give up when I’ve had a busy week and I’ve once again fallen victim to the hope traps. Having two school-aged children, a full time job and then, the holidays, has been overwhelming. Like most creative people, I know these are excuses. Maybe I need to get up earlier, or commit myself less. Yet, it’s easy to short-change myself instead of letting others down.

Sometimes, though, it is more serious. I have to help my kids with their homework first. I am also busier at my job these days and I come home exhausted. I’m very fortunate to have my job and I need to give it all I can muster. I have seen tiny windows where can fit in my writing, but I have honestly felt too damm tired lately.

By no means have I experienced “writers block”, as the ideas are still flowing. What I do feel is a creative depression. If I can’t find the time to get it all out and if I never reach the goals I set for myself, maybe I shouldn’t try at all. I had a goal to post to this blog once a week. I feel really guilty when I don’t. I should be able to do it no matter how chaotic my week has been. These kinds of feelings are limiting. I have to let go and move on. I can’t go back to a week where I don’t post an entry. All I can do is reaffirm my commitment and go forward. See, I have logic and I am practical. Like most creative people, I know what I need to do. The constant challenge is doing what’s good for your muse and not wallowing in destructive feelings or behaviors.

So, deep breath…this entry is done. Move forward. I guess I can enjoy the fact that I am more creative than I give myself credit for. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be so screwed up! As I walk boldly into 2009, I hope for many things. Hoping for more time and perfect scenarios should be shed for the hope of maturing as a writer. You could say that I hope I learn a more productive way to hope!


Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, hope is a good thing to have, but it's also good to follow through. Otherwise, it won't get you anywhere.

Morgan Mandel

Colleen Gonzalez said...

That's the tough part, isn't it? I'm always working towards it.