When I feel called to writing and feel safe in simply being me, I can be quite a prolific writer. I can sit for hours, typing away, with the words pouring out in what seems like an endless flow. I feel as though there are so many words available to me, and I can hand pick my favourites.
The minute that someone gives me a specific topic to write about, or I start writing for a defined purpose (such as a book about my ontological journey, to pick a random example), or I become caught up in perfection (such as that same book about my ontological journey), the words dry up. In those moments, I sit, looking at a blank computer screen, feeling as though there is a story within me that will just not come out. I feel as though I am at the mercy of some mythical word chooser who is only allowing the word scraps to come my way, and I have to take whatever I am given.
The assessment that I arrived at is that I am comfortable in my writing when I don’t feel as though I have any constraints or boundaries. When I feel as though I am writing for a purpose that has been placed upon me, or when I feel under (usually self-imposed) pressure to get my writing perfect (that ontological journey book again), I struggle to write. When the topic simply comes to me, and I have no pressure on myself, I can write.
Prior to starting this blog, I had decided that I would only write if I was feeling called to write; I would not write for the sake of writing, because that is when I start to feel constrained and there is too much angst.
When I started this blog, I started with curiosity and wonder and acceptance that my story is what it is. And then, I started to write. What has been interesting is that most of what I would have put into a book has poured out on to the pages of this blog. Yet, that didn’t happen when I thought I was writing a book! When I reflected on why this was the case, it once again came back how I was perceiving constraints, and what the moods were that were associated with those perceived constraints.
When writing this blog, I feel quite safe and happy in being me. I feel as though I can write whatever I want to write, without worrying about whether it perfectly fits into a structure and without worrying about what a potential publisher might think. I feel a sense of wonder about where it might go. I was never able to move to wonder when I was trying to write my book; anxiety and resignation seemed to be where I spent a lot of my time at that point. And, from that point of anxiety and resignation, all I could see were constraints. I could feel pressure to get it right, and I felt as though I couldn’t be me. This is quite interesting because, in hindsight, being me is probably what would have worked for a book that was ultimately going to be about me!
Recently, I decided to invite people to choose topics that might ultimately become blog posts, and so Talkback Tuesday was born. This was an interesting challenge for me. I wanted to more actively engage followers of my blog and yet, I was heading down that path of potentially feeling constrained again. I was asking people to choose a topic for me, and I didn’t feel as though that had been hugely successful in the past. What if someone picked a topic that I just couldn’t write about?
This time, I told myself that this is my blog, so it is up to me to determine how best to respond to whatever might happen on it. That might be engagement via comments, a completely new blog post, or even a blog post that simply lists a couple of thoughts and some links to some colleagues in the ontological coaching field. There were plenty of possibilities. I was going to approach this from a mood of wonder and see what happened. This could be an amazing opportunity. I wonder where it will go?
So I hit publish on that Talkback Tuesday post and then I sat in wonder as I started to write blog posts in response to that post. Other people had chosen the topics, and yet the words simply flowed. I didn’t have the struggle that I would have had in the past. I had fun; so much fun that I actually forgot that I was writing to topics that other people had chosen. And, as I wrote, I learned so much. It was a truly amazing experience, for which I am incredibly grateful.
My assessment is that this possibility came about because I chose a mood of wonder – a mood that I find increases my creativity and just helps things to happen.
Even as someone who has now been practicing this approach for a few years, the power of moods never ceases to amaze me.
I wonder if I will ever sit down and write that book?
Where might a mood of wonder be helpful for you in your life?
Who am I?
I am a leadership and life coach, available for coaching and facilitation services. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.