status report

I’m BACK!

Would you like to know where I’ve been? So would I.

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Photo courtesy of CreateHER Stock Photos

After some freelancing success and a hiatus away from all things writing-related, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not I lost my mojo. Over the past few months, I’ve certainly felt as though I’d been torn away from my talent. I figured now’s as good a time as any to get to know and show who I am again.

Let me begin by getting you up to speed: During the last few months of 2018 I had a day job*. Although it looked good on paper, in reality, the position truly wasn’t for me. Currently, I question whether or not I should even have it on my resume. There were signs from the beginning that things weren’t meant to be. A bad contract and horrible reviews of my workplace should have been enough to make me be cautious, but I was desperate to be employed. (Note: Desperation ALWAYS leads to bad decisions.)

As time went on, I found myself perpetually stressed. Yet through it all, I longed for a sense of normalcy. Every now and then I tried to keep up with friends and acquaintances via my social media accounts. But by the time Christmas Holidays rolled around, I was mentally and physically drained. In the end I learned that when it comes to finding work, I can afford to be cautious. 

Since then, in the wake of the new year, I tried to resurrect an old piece of writing. Last year I’d successfully pitched yet abandoned an essay. Writing articles can be a nerd’s dream, and this one was no exception. Looking back, I know that I’d conducted some amazing interviews, and I still believe in the vision behind my original concept. Therefore, when I first went back to my work, I didn’t anticipate any problems.

And yet, as I attempted to revise and refresh my article, I couldn’t help but notice that something was missing. There are times when you write, and your material touches you personally. You may have done an incredible amount of research, and received quotes from amazing people. You may even turn to friends for great writing advice. Yet when you try to assemble your work and and support it by adding the veil of your own perspective, you may feel as though you’re not doing it justice.

That’s the challenge that plagued me while working on my latest piece of writing. In spite of the good intentions behind my attempted revival, something just wouldn’t let my soul rest.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that I can write. But as I worked I couldn’t help but have doubts about my story’s substance. I hate the idea of being inadequate in a realm that I was born to succeed in.

Meanwhile, as I tried to sort out what was wrong, I’ve had a few epiphanies related to fear and procrastination.

A few weeks ago I thought I’d finally begun to understand where my resistance was coming from. On Twitter I’d written to a fellow writer:

Today I think I finally started to figure out how not to be afraid of writing.

The sensation didn’t last, but the reasoning behind it stuck with me.

One day I realized I was at my best when I stopped wrestling with my doubts. As an artist I’m at my best when I surrender and accept my fate. Writing is what I was meant to do. It’s all I’ve ever wanted since childhood. Yet whenever I’ve caught myself fretting over the fact that I had to write something, instead of focusing on the fact that I got to write–that’s where my internal hell began.

When it comes to your life’s mission, time spent worrying is better spent working.

And then, another revelation. One afternoon when my anxiety was at my most aggravating, it hit me:

I get it! I understand why some artists are driven to substance abuse. 

Or, at the very least, I felt as though I understood why some of them had mental health issues.

There are times when feeling the weight of your life’s calling can really mess with your head. On one hand, you’re in a position where you’re able to create and share something amazing. On the other, impostor’s syndrome is darkening your door.

You’re powerful enough to do this, but how dare you?!?

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Photo courtesy of Lenka Sluneckova on Unsplash.

So where do I go from here?

Right now, it seems as though my life is at a standstill. Whether or not it’s the calm before the storm, time will tell.

Ultimately, though, I’m convinced that when you reject what you were meant to do, you’re rejecting YOURSELF. In order to heal this rift, the first solution that comes to mind is a spiritual one. I need to give myself space daily to think intimately about how I regard myself. No matter how much I may have attempted to avoid it in the past, the fact is that I love writing–body and soul. What sense does it make for me to hate my one true love?

In the days to come I look forward to settling down to work, and genuinely embracing my reality. Let’s see what happens next.

For more on mental health and the writers’ journey, read Alicia Elliott’s essay On Burnout.

*I’m looking for a new position. If you know anyone who needs to have something written, get in touch!

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PodPost, status report

Mic Fright?

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Dear Reader,

I thought I’d give you a bit of an update on one of my projects—the claire.she.goes podcast. I’ve been working at it sporadically over the past few years, and I’ve been thinking about taking things to the next level.

If you were at last month’s Paris Lectures event, you already know some of this story. If not, bear with me.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about my podcast. A little while ago I decided that I wanted to engage in dynamic storytelling. One way of doing that is to include interviews on my show. I felt inspired to start a series, but hit a huge roadblock.

Something happened shortly after I began booking appointments. I recorded my first interview, but things didn’t work out.

Firstly, I had a technical issue. My setup was somehow off, and only my side of the conversation got recorded. Secondly, something significant went on that I couldn’t ignore. It was a Friday when I tried to record that ruined interview. Would you believe that as soon as I pressed record, I started to develop a pain in my chest?

It didn’t leave me until over 24 hours later.

After that, I cancelled the other interview that I had planned. I decided instead to focus on email-based conversations.

And yet…In spite of my body’s behaviour, I knew what I wanted and STILL want to achieve.

I put my game face on and went to Paris Lectures. It was a special evening. Normally presenters are invited to chat in front of the audience and share information about their pet projects. However, in the weeks before I showed up, folks were allowed to submit to present in front of their peers. I was one of them.

I spoke about my podcast—my dreams, but also my discomfort.

That night, I felt inspired to start interviewing some of my town’s locals. We have a lot of very talented, interesting people around. I figured, ”Why not?!?”

I began to reach out and emailed a few folks.

At first, I felt fine.

THEN, as I started to think more seriously about making arrangements, something uncomfortably familiar happened. I began to feel sick to my stomach.

I realize thanks to editing you might not be able to tell, but when I record my shows, I’m very, VERY nervous. In spite of this, a part of me is determined. I believe I have something to offer the world of podcasting. Hence, my physical reaction doesn’t make any sense. Not even to me.

So what am I doing about it?

Moving forward.

Last week I recorded an interview and I survived. I think it helped that I told myself over and over again, ”It’s just a conversation, Claire.”

Because really, that’s all a good interview is. A conversation.

As I edited my latest episode, I felt myself becoming critical.

You could’ve been more confident, Claire. Why’d you have to laugh so hard?!?

On and on I could have gone, but in the end it means nothing. Especially in light of where I now stand: At the threshold of possibility.

Really. In spite of any lingering sense of fear, I feel like I could talk to anyone!

I’m a great writer. I can become a great interviewer.

What else have I learned…?

Don’t be afraid to look your dreams in the eye. Give them the attention they deserve.

Also, in your journey as a creator, give yourself room to grow. I firmly believe that can only come by owning your awkwardness and accepting your limits…

So you can CRUSH them.

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status report

Here’s to 2014.

2014

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I look back and think of what was, know in my heart what is, and look ahead…Knowing what I want my future to look like.

I won’t share many of my resolutions with you. However, I know that in order to achieve my goals, I need to embrace discipline and self-care. And fear has never been my friend.

At the very least, I need to let go of procrastination. Right now I’m working on a project that’s due on Monday. I started a couple of days ago, and although I’ve dragged my feet a bit…I’m determined! I had a knot in my stomach when I realized I could have started sooner. I don’t want it to rise up again in the form of a knot on Sunday night, fuelled by my having done next-to-nothing.

A part of me also knows that I need to temper my hunger for information. It’s easy to waste hours using Google or social media to quench this part of me. Both outlets fascinate me, but I need to remember the difference between satisfying curiosity and mindless binging.

Furthermore, a month or so ago, a friend sent me an important message. In the aftermath of her words, I let their meaning sink in. Sometimes when quiet moments come, I don’t appreciate them.

Now…I haven’t spent much time trying to understand the buzz around leaning in. But I know that leaning out–extending myself to be constantly in touch with others or technology–can leave me empty. This year I want to spend more time appreciating quiet moments. In chasing them away, I risk losing an opportunity.

Henceforth, when chances to learn more about myself come, I plan to embrace them and not run away.

We’ll see how everything unfolds…

Happy New Year!

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status report

Ready to STRETCH?

No, I’m not talking about my post-exercise routine. (Hi, Lisa! 😉 )

I’m referring to this entry from The Daily Love.

I’ve been thinking more and more about the future of this site.

I’m considering things like taking on a photo-dependent theme. On one hand, I love the idea because my posts will look amazing.

On the other, I’m scared because if I follow through, I’ll have to take or dig up a pic every time I find something I want to share.

In this way I’ll be doing what Mastin referred to. Stretching. In the end, it could be worth it. Even if the thought terrifies me.

(Yes, I have ideas that I’m not talking about. Never you mind what they may be….)

Of course if I start changing things around here…And I’m considering the bigger picture…Working on the blog will require WORKING on the blog. Consistent posts. No slacking.

I can’t help but wonder if I’ve enjoyed leisurely posting too long. It’s all too easy to disappear whenever I like.

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News/How I’m doin’. ;)

1. A few hours ago (this post was written after midnight) I discovered something absolutely, incredibly wonderful…Purely by accident.

Seriously. It was weird.

Imagine going into the kitchen for some random food, only to learn that someone baked you a pie. But not just any pie…

Your FAVOURITE pie.

Now…imagine feeling that thrill multiplied by at least 1000 times. 😀

I won’t offer any details just yet. But I’m truly ecstatic. It’s been a while since I’ve had something this big to be thankful for. A part of me feels as though I’ve experienced one of life’s wonders. I’m truly thankful to God for His gifts.

Here’s a song to celebrate.

*ahem*

There’s one aspect of this news that I need help with. Rather than tell you outright what it is, I’m going to take a cue from a post that I read on another blog, and ask you to pray without revealing any specifics.

Somehow, though…I feel uplifted and confident about the outcome of this impending phase of life. I will let you know how everything goes.

2. I think the spell has finally been broken. You know. The one where I write and work on bits and pieces and never submit anything?


Wha…? You don’t know…?

Well…That’s over. I’ve been wrestling with fear lately. And I think I’m learning how to give it a proper arse-kicking.

I’ve come to accept writing as my divine vocation. There are a variety of things that have made it very clear to me that I have to see it as my J-O-B.

I mean…I think this is something that I’ve always known. But accepted…?

Nah.

Our gifts were not meant to be held so tightly. Rather, I think we ought to give them away.

Or sell ’em, if we can. 😉

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“You want fame? Well fame costs.”

Anyone else remember this intro?

Just me, then? Ok…

*cries young-old-lady tears*

Screw fame. I want freedom. The kind that comes from personal liberation. I want the dreams that burn inside my soul to become reality.

Today’s theme is perseverance. Play this in the background if you want:

It’s as though something divine is pushing me forward, asking me to ask more of myself.

Little changes are slipping into my routine. I’ve recently started waking up to jog while it’s still dark. I get a workout, and I’m done before the rest of my day begins.

Ultimately, I feel like God is setting things up for me in a way that says, “If you want X, you’d better be prepared to Y.” That is, if “Y” equals “work my ass off”.

Still, the old demons are doing their thing. Fear and disorganization can be ruthless.

And yet everything is telling me to make way for the life that I want. All I need is the discipline to tear down the wall to get to the other side.

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Bad Blogger.


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Random thoughts coming through…

If writing really is my thing, shouldn’t I be posting more often?

Last weekend I had a blast. I was all set to share my adventures and then…Next to nada. Barely a peep.

But I tweeted like a mofo–if anyone actually cares.

In the meantime, I’ve been concerned about how I’ve been using my time. I have important things to do, and I’ve been procrastinating…

Interestingly enough, recently someone in my feed mentioned a quote that said something like “perfectionism leads to procrastination…”

I need to get past being obsessed with perfection. It’s all too easy to let fear stop you in your tracks. Instead, I’m going to hone in on authenticity. Everything else is bound to follow.

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