This month, I was listening to Shonda Rhimes’ audio book called Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. It’s really good – it has all sorts of well-told stories you’d expect from a professional writer, and then some. She also shares great insight about her weaknesses and how she turned things around after becoming successful.
I connect with Shonda’s story on so many levels. She started out with a funny disclaimer that she’s a liar. That she comes up with stories for everything. And while she used to get in trouble for it as a kid, now this is how she makes her living.
That made me so happy to hear.
As someone who conjures up stories in her head and lives in another world sometimes, I really appreciated realizing that there are others out there like that. Granted, Shonda is in another class of creative genius. But that was why it was so inspiring to hear her tell her story. Flaws and all.
I won’t give too much away because you should go out and buy her book (or listen to her narrate it on Audible, as I enjoyed).
I do want to share a piece of wisdom she mentioned that woke me up from my slumber.
But first, context. I’ve been in a rut this year. And I don’t just mean that I’m not writing often. But I mean all aspects of my life. I’ve questioned everything and looked for direction.
It got so bad that I feel like I’ve been frozen in time. I can’t take a step forward without taking two back.
When I heard Shonda’s thoughts about what it means to be a writer, it finally sunk in. In a Bustle interview, she said something very similar to her message on this in her book:
“If you’re writing every day, then you’re a writer. You may not be a working writer, but you are a writer. And if you’re not writing every day, and you tell me that writing is your passion and is who you are and who you want to be, you have to examine why you’re not writing every day… maybe you just like the idea.”
My excuse for not writing this past year was that I needed to be doing other important things. And I didn’t have time to do both. So I told myself, no writing until I achieve A, B and C.
But guess what? I wasn’t doing the things I needed to do. And I certainly wasn’t writing. I wasn’t doing anything.
And I think part of the downward spiral was that I wasn’t expressing myself through writing. I live and breathe stories. Since when did setting that aside help me achieve more?
So I am going to try again. Because try I must. I’m happiest when I write. I’m happiest when I think and analyze. I’m happiest when I look up synonyms.
Sure, I write for work. I write a lot. And then I edit, rewrite and start over again. But work writing isn’t about expressing myself. It’s about serving a client and their needs. And it’s about fitting into a box. It’s about being something for someone else.
So I need to make my own writing a priority again.
Finding the time to write is one aspect. The second one is finding the motivation to write. And when you’re in a rut, it’s hard to get any motivation to do ANYTHING.
As a morning person, I’ve been struggling to get out of bed. I haven’t been catching my favorite sunrises. I haven’t been getting to work early. And I struggle to go to bed at my normal hour. It’s this self-perpetuating cycle. I fail to get up, and then I fail to go to sleep. And so I miss my favorite time to be – my mornings!
Believe me – I’ve tried! I’ve set my alarm clock and my Fitbit. I got that app that forces you to shake your phone to turn off loud noise. I’ve tried alarms to get myself to go to bed earlier. I’ve tried melatonin. I’ve tried everything I can think of!
The only way to succeed is to change my mindset. Remind myself that I’m slowly dying over here. Without my passion, I’m nothing. And until I make it into the habit that it once used to be, I will be dragging my feet everywhere else.
The solution? I need to change something.
Yes, I need to start waking up early. I need to start forcing myself to get out of bed.
But what I truly need is a change of heart. I need to remind myself that if I succeed at one thing, I can succeed at everything.
Turning things around can start small. Writing for 10 minutes every day is a start.
Let’s see how it goes! And let’s see if starting small in one part of my life will lead to positive changes in other areas.
Please comment, share your thoughts and let me know what you think. Please help me keep this a positive forum, though. I am so excited for some debate, but let’s respect each other please. I reserve the right to monitor and delete inappropriate posts. Thanks in advance!
Featured image via.