Hello beautiful readers,
I wanted to share with you a reflection that was born as I read an article featured in the Charleston Style & Design magazine Summer 2019 issue. The article was titled "The Waiting Place"* and it was written by Michelle Thompson, a children books writer.
In the article she talked about how in the middle of a trip to take her daughter to a concert, she woke up at 4:30 AM and decided to step out of her "waiting place", hence the title of her article.
But what is "the waiting place"? You may ask.
I would love for you to imagine someone waiting for a plane, a taxi, or let's say, their favorite movie (or book) to come out, a new collection from one of their favorite artists, a new album...anything.
Whether it is for a short or long period of time, when we wait, we fill our time with insignificant tasks to help pass time.
Now, imagine living a life where we only dedicate our spare time to tasks that only create a dull routine filling us with the notion that we have no time left to use for things that matter.
That is the waiting place the author refers to.
As a human, it is impossible not to enter the waiting place. As creative, staying in the waiting place is suffocating, especially when you already have an idea/goal/project that you came up with and swore you would get done.
As I read the article, I found myself nodding several times because I identified with something she said, which was that she was full of creative ideas that got started but never finished.
Doesn't that sound familiar?
It resonated around my being, and by the time I finished reading her article I understood her epiphany because reading her article was mine.
Personally, I have so many projects–my book draft, ideas for paintings, mediums and techniques I want to explore, unfinished poems, blog posts, and other book ideas and drafts that dwell in my laptop's memory as well as mine.
I start all these projects strong and committed, but slowly my attention fades and old projects are replaced by new ones and the pile of unfinished projects grows.
Knowing that I'm not the only creative that suffers from a short attention span makes me feel slightly better, but sometimes I have to stop and have a serious talk with myself about the priority of my goals, and acknowledge how bad I want to accomplish them.
I ask myself: Do you seriously want to someday become a published author? The answer to that question has always been yes, so I sit down, put my phone away and write.
Its easier said than done.
At times I try to ignore the fact that I know my draft sucks, but it is supposed to.
It is a mixture of beautiful sentences that make me feel hopeful, characters I'm still getting to know, and imaginary places I'm exploring for the first time ever. Many times I feel the need to go back and fix that scene that I know could be phrased differently or a scene that needs work, but I stop myself and remind that first drafts are supposed to be bad.
On my other creative endeavors, like my blog or painting, I put time to the side to work on each because I know I can finish a painting in one day, or publish a new blog post every Tuesday.
The fact that there is shorter-term gratification pushes me to complete these things, and having finished products makes me believe I can accomplish next something greater. It fuels my long-term projects.
I believe the article Miss Thompson wrote wasn't to communicate she decided to move on from her waiting place; it was to let her readers know that even the ones who had at some point had "made it" still found themselves there. To me the whole article was a wake up call that encouraged me to prioritize and finish my already started projects because otherwise I would never feel like I "made it".
Right now I'm stepping out of my waiting place by publishing a blog post at the time, writing a chapter at the time, and painting a new canvas at the time. Because the satisfaction of finishing one project gives me momentum and courage to finish the next.
The strength to keep going builds up from self-pride, and encouragement from friends that pushed you even when you had no sense of direction.
Perhaps Thompson wasn't so explicit in her message, but I will be.
Whatever your goals are, make a list and a plan to tackle them down one by one. Start small and surround yourself with people that support you. Believe that one day, will find yourself becoming your own role model or even someone else's.
Also, please appreciate the friends that push you when you lack that voice to tell yourself to keep going, but most importantly, be that friend to someone else who needs it.
With that said, I nodded and laughed when Michelle the writer had a friend named Michelle (the psychologist, ha!), and it reminded me of my friend Michelle, who you know as @i.dream.things,
because she is one of my sources of encouragement and support, even a coast away.
I am blessed to have you.
*You can read "The Waiting Place" by Michelle Thompson here.