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More about magic

I want to talk about the post I wrote last week because it’s actually a perfect example of what Elizabeth Gilbert calls magic, or what some others call flow, which is just a mind-boggling connection for me since it was her book, Big Magic, that I was writing about.

I had the thought about how I felt about her book versus how I’d felt about that other book almost immediately as I started reading and I thought that I’d really like to write about it. But I talked myself out of it - no, no, that’s not what I want to post - and I can’t even say why.

Then I woke up Sunday morning - the day I always post - and had no idea what was going up.

I had a few things I was working on, but none of them were ready. They all needed something more to happen to me for them to say what I wanted them to say. They would have been forced, flat. I thought about just not posting at all.

But just after that - still lying in bed, still dark outside - the post about dedication versus control came to me again and this time I decided to go with it. I got right up and before I even started my coffee folks (!), I was at my computer typing away.

By 10 a.m., the post was written, edited, and in draft form waiting to be published. Also by this time, I had made comments on some of the ideas that I’d decided I wanted to write more about. By 11 a.m., I was writing what you’re reading now.

This, my friends, is flow.

Maybe one other time had a last-minute post come together with ease, but it was one post - a page or so and that was it. This feeling like I’d cracked something, like I can’t stop writing and it’s all coming out just how I want to say it and more ideas keep coming, is different.

This - THIS - is what happens when you give up control and surrender to inspiration. THIS is what happens when you decide that while you may not be able to write every single second of every single day, you are dedicated to publishing a post at least once a week so that you know you are giving at least some time to what you love on a regular basis.

Here’s the other interesting thing about this that demonstrates the power of dedication over control.

The day before I wrote this post, I’d also woken up really excited. I was reading this great book that had me pumped and I was ready to give over my whole day in the service of moving some projects forward. I was ready to channel Elizabeth Gilbert and creative living.

And crickets.

Nothing much was happening. I gave a couple hours and then felt wiped out. In other words, I’d been ready, but inspiration had not. And thinking of it this way instead of thinking maybe that I was doing something wrong is crucial.

What this says to me is that first I wasn’t ready so when inspiration knocked I said no because we aren’t always in perfect lock-step. Then, the next time, I was ready, and it was like, hold on, hold on, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

And finally, it gave me another chance - thank goodness it usually doesn’t give up so easily - which this time I accepted and away we went. And it was only because I am dedicated to being open and to listening and to being ready as often as I can when it decides to be ready that I was there to benefit from its presence.

As often as I can I said, not 100% of the time.

Because being hard on myself for not slaving away at my writing has, quite frankly, kept me from being a writer for most of my life. Being hard on myself for not being able to stick with a project and for not being “good” at fiction - which I’ve since realized, is often just an embellished version of what I do here - has kept inspiration at arm’s length.

It just doesn’t want to work with someone so rigid.

But since I’ve allowed myself to, shall we say, go with the flow, inspiration and I seem to have a much better working relationship. It visits me more often and stays longer.

Nothing fancy, no special tricks, just me letting go a little…who knew?

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