On the Luxury of Journaling
Many mornings, of late, I roll out of bed around nine thirty or ten, after hours of lazy writing.
It’s relatively new to me, to spend so many hours lying in bed, recording my dreams, dialoguing with dream characters and journaling, followed by–sometimes–working on one of several books in process.
Minutes, perhaps. An hour, perhaps. But two? Three? Even four?
Sometimes I delight in what I’ve written. A recent dream took place in a noir industrial setting where a boiler exploded. I spent several hours dialoguing with dream characters in my journal, including the boiler. A Greek chorus showed up in the middle of my dialogue.
I kid you not.
Song lyrics. Rants. Explosions.
It feels exhilarating to engage so deeply with one’s creative process.
Yet, it’s also hard to refrain from judging myself. It’s not like I’m writing a musical that people are going to come see. Is this Greek chorus purely for me? And is it okay if it is?
Can I trust that by journaling and journaling and journaling for hours that I am actually producing something worthwhile? Or can I let go of producing and just be, experience, allow?
That last idea seems almost subversive to me. Can I allow it? Am I still a good person if I indulge in this?
Note to self: Ask Kate Hanley, author and podcaster of How to Be a Better Person! She’ll know!
Let’s Be Real: The Truth
Okay, the truth is: you and I do know that listening to the muse, being creative, playing…all these things nurture us, so we can, in turn, truly be the gift to the world that we are meant to be.
And it’s okay to be a gift to ourselves at times, too. We don’t need to justify our existence, amiright?
I could ask, “Why do we do that–believe we need to justify our existence?” but maybe that’s not the most affirming question to ask. Maybe the best thing is to witness this desire to be good or normal or productive or well-behaved and then make a more empowering choice–yes, to lie in bed and write and not worry whether any of this will ever be read by anyone but me.
There are times to write for an audience and there are times to be your own reader, your own audience. To write for you!
Losing Voice and Lazy Writing
Many days I turn to one of my book projects and the voice just isn’t coming out right lately. I wonder whether I’ve lost the magic of that particular book. Should I even bother?
In those moments I recall the advice of a client’s inner muse who told her that much of her writing will be a sloughing off in the beginning. She’ll get at the real writing eventually but the sloughing off is part of the practice. You can’t skip it. I feel the truth of that in my own practice.
There is so much to explore and discard, to release, to make room for the deeper wisdom and the beautiful words that will come eventually.
So much of my lazy writing–what I write in that journal, even when I’m working on the book–will never see the light of day. Nor should it. Am I okay with that? Are you?
Is it okay to work for hours every day on this inner work and exploration? Can we permit ourselves to write without knowing where it’s going? To write for the love of writing and words and dreams and symbols and quirkiness and pure pleasure?
Is it okay to seek, without knowing exactly what we seek? To allow ourselves to explore and discover and be surprised by our lazy writing?
Time as Currency or Current?
The answers may seem obvious but it’s not always easy in our hyper-productive culture to allow for our inner truth when it comes to how we spend our time. Even the term “spend” our time has implications of the “value” of time, time as currency.
Perhaps time is more current than currency. To be current, as in present, allows us to be carried on this current of creative flow as we drift through time.
And, really, when we’re creating, doesn’t time seem to stop and life feel timeless in those moments of flow?
There’s no right way and wrong way to write a book–or any other project. And there are millions of choices along the way. Just choices.
I’ve helped people write extraordinary and award-winning books based on very detailed outlines and writing schedules. I’ve also helped people write inspired and inspiring books in more meandering ways.
The former can be quicker, for sure. Yet, it’s most important to listen to your inner guidance and see what it needs–now, today, this moment. Trust your process. Even if it means lazing in bed and sloughing for a while.