Each morning I get a list of articles from Medium curated for me. I flip through, pick the few that look most interesting, and get to reading.
This morning’s read contained a piece in which the author attributes his success to writing every day, especially when he didn’t feel like it.
The very next piece, about lessons learned from writing a novel in a month, shared that routine is the killer of creativity. That when the author tried to force writing sessions, nothing good ever came of it.
If you guessed both, you’re right.
The most freeing and infuriating insight I teach is that there is no right way to do anything creative. Hell, there’s not even a proper way to tie your shoe.
If we can’t agree on the best way to tackle our writing time, how the hell are we going to agree on the best ways to deal with change and overcome challenges?
When life hands you a dirt sandwich, it’s your choice to take a bite, or add ketchup before diving in, or set the sandwich down and find something else to eat. There is no “right” way to eat a dirt sandwich. There’s no “right” way to cope with change in your life.
The most crucial step to tackle life change is to understand there is no right way.
Well, that’s helpful….
But embracing that nugget of info now gives you the license to explore ideas. Hate your job and know you need out? You don’t have to find a new soul-sucking job; you can explore new career fields, chase educational opportunities, venture into business for yourself. Hell, keep the job and know the bills are getting paid while you dive headlong into that “silly” thing that undeniably lights your fire.
If there’s no right way, how do we know what to do?
When my husband and I learned we couldn’t have biological children, I research adoption, the process, and stories from families who had. I researched surrogacy, the process, and stories of families built that way. I looked for stories of couples that chose to move forward without kids. I mulled those ideas in my brain, had conversations with my husband. We tried each on for size.
It took some time, but through exploring a lot of options, allowing myself to look at positive and negatives stories and research, processes, and expenses, we were able to find the route that was right for us.
If you don’t know where to start, list out all the options; stay, leave, do, don’t, ask for more, ask for less, accept the status quo, take it to court, settle out of court.
Like get out a pen and paper and write out this list.
Now explore each. This might mean literal research on the internet for information or stories of folks who’ve faced similar. This might mean sitting with how each and exploring how they feel for you. Sometimes giving an idea is voice enough to know it’s not right for you.
Try them on for size.
If you’re figuring out how to be the best writer you can be, try setting a routine for a week or two. Then have a week or two with no set routine. Which worked better?
Did you like ketchup, mustard, or both on that dirt sandwich?
Imagine your life without kids or living on the other side of the country, or landing that job. Does it feel right?