– Each week review monthly goals.
– Shop complete
– each category have at least one item for each IP
– run up to 10km on Sunday
– finish book 2
– start exit plan 3
– record cover of judgement day
last week’s goals
8km on Sunday
finish first draft of book 2
transfer isbn to kdp
upload new revision of book 1
edit/mix revolt for space brains
– sign up for amazon associate
– create page for exit plan book 1
– create binge 3
– add page for high performance habits
– social media twitter queue
Intention, the journey you take, the destination you reach and feelings of doubt and anxiety.
I read a lot about people suffering anxiety about their creativity, fear about what they produce and in stopping their art. Another thing I see a lot of is what I suffered from years ago while I wrote my first novel: I’m writing just for me, I would write anyway, I’m not intending to make any money out of this, it doesn’t matter if it gets published.
There’s a connection between all of these anxieties, fears and lies. Because that’s what they are, plain and simple: they are lies. But why do we tell them and what can help us navigate past them?
For me it was understanding intention, understanding what sort of journey I am on and how to, dare I say the term: manifest my destination.
And in this case I had to understand that my “destination” was a state of mind and state of being not an end but a way of being on my journey, if that makes any sense.
What does this have to do with intention?
Wikipedia says: Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought.
So there I was writing my first novel, an as yet unpublished epic fantasy called “The West Queen” and had planned a little of it, built the world but was writing it largely by the seat of my pants. And it has come to be my belief that it is extremely rare for a person to write by the seat of their pants and maintain a sustainable creative career. I’d use the term successful but that is too loaded a term and everyone will disagree on what that means. So instead I use the term sustainable to indicate a creative career that you can pursue for the long term and have effect. While I wrote I had doubts that I was doing anything good and while I wrote I said “I’m doing this just to see if I can write a book” and “It doesn’t matter if no one reads it, it’s just for me” and all those other lies we tell ourselves. I queried a handful of agents who politely declined and as I wrote my next book I got about halfway through and changed to another book and about halfway through I changed again. About halfway through that one I just stopped. I wrote a handful of short stories and even that ended. I told myself I wasn’t that serious and it was just for fun and I felt dead inside like something had withered.
Does any of this sound familiar? I’m sure it does to many people who listen to this. And it doesn’t have to just be writing. It could be a computer game you’re producing or a painting or a business idea or even a relationship. We tell ourselves these same lies and we flail about blindly and try to reassure ourselves that “well, we did the best we could”. For years I believed that and I followed that pattern in a number of my creative pursuits. But I had a midlife crisis and called bullshit on all of it. Why did I have to “just write for the fun of it” or “not care if anyone read my work?”. I have a need,and always have had a need to create and inspire and build a better world in any way I can.
I was missing intention. Or rather, I was out of alignment with my intention. (amongst other things). Again, Wikipedia points out that intention is a commitment to carry out an action in the future.
When I started writing The West Queen what was my intention? I wasn’t clear on it. I said one thing but acted another way. This is called dissonance and it tears people up inside. It is visible to other people either consciously or subconsciously. I’m sure you’ve met people that you know just aren’t doing what they say or believe themselves to be doing. Has that inspired you or made you take them seriously?
The problem comes from this: your intention is to do something creative. So in theory you have a commitment to carry out an action. But intention involves such things and planning and forethought. If you start repeating stories to yourself that are in conflict with your intention what happens to that commitment? you lose it. You lose your intention and you don’t carry out the action. You end up in a state of dissonance where you are doing one thing but believing another and your mind tries to make these two things meet up but fails. You end up with anxiety and feelings of fraud and you stop.
I’ve set my intention and I recognise that now. I’ve committed to my course of action. I am not writing and creating just for the fun of it. I do care if nobody reads or hears or sees my work. I am on the path to being full-time employed in my creative endevours. Gravity Undone will be a collaborative entertainment network for creators who inspire. With this intention I know what actions I have to take and I know that if I trust in the process I will reach my goal. No more do I say things like “I’m not in this to make money” I am in this to make money. That isn’t my sole concern but if I don’t make money I can’t continue pursuing my creativity. I, like everyone else, need to eat and need shelter and for that I need money or the equivalent resources. Do I feel like a fraud? No. Not any more. Because I’m doing what I intend to do and I’m honest about it. Do I make money now? No. Well, I’ve made about $5 Australian so far but that isn’t the point. I have planning and forethought and a commitment to carry out an action in the future. I have intention.
What is your intention? Look deep into yourself and ask if what you are saying and doing align with what you intend. If it doesn’t align then what is your true intention rather than your spoken intention? That is, consider what it is you’ve actually committed to, what it is you’ve planning and had forethought about. Flying by the seat of your pants relies on hope as a strategy: you hope that what you are doing will somehow move your forwards. A wise woman once said to me “hope is not a strategy”. This brings me back to creating by the seat of your pants. That is just you hoping that what you’re doing creates something good. Is you intent to make something good or is your intent to experiment? Be clear on your intent. Experimentation is fine and valid but don’t mistake your lack of commitment to an action for being creative. Do you want to write a good book that has an effect and that people love? Then you need to plan for that to happen. Hoping you finish and hoping it is good is not in alignment with the intent to write a good book or create a strong business or build a lasting relationship. If your intent it to experiment and discover your joy and passion then pantsing it is in alignment with that goal. But don’t tell lies to yourself or to others. Be clear in what it is you intend, act in alignment with that intention and you will not suffer dissonance.
Now I would be crazy not to realise that this is a controversial position to take, but I hope that in that controversy you come to a realisation and an understanding within yourself. You don’t need to agree with me. I don’t need you to agree with me. What I want more than anything else if for you to understand yourself and agree with yourself so I can stop reading all the “oh I feel like my work is no good and what if what I’ve done is just rubbish and it doesn’t matter, I’m not doing this to make money and I don’t care if no one sees this.” I want to start reading and hearing “I’m doing what I set out to do. I’m not making money yet but my plan and process will make that happen, my work will have an impact and my legacy will live beyond me because that is the direction I’m heading and the intention I’ve set.”
I hope that by revealing this about my own life that I’ve helped someone else. If you disagree with me or if you fully agree with me, let me know on twitter @gravityundone or @mycreativitypod or you could email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you’d like to join me in being accountable you can let me know your goals and when you intend to reach them just like I do each week and I’ll read them out so you know what you have to do.
next week’s goals
Add additional recommended books to my shop
Start 2nd draft of book 2
judgement day at 85 bpm, complete play through
Edit interview with KC Wayland