By: Stella Orange
I’m noticing that a lot of people have a dysfunctional relationship with time.
I will include myself in this boat.
Just this morning, I was writing to myself about how impatient and grumpy I am that I haven’t written 7 books and sold the script rights for two of them to movie people in LA and adapted another story for the stage yet.
Sure, I just recovered that vision a year ago.
Sure, I have been reading more literature, seeing more plays, reading the New York Times Arts & Leisure section first in the Sunday paper, and listening to more podcasts where authors talk about their creative process.
Sure, I have been writing monthly essays for Sarah’s magazine, The Brick.
Sure, I have been focused on building this brand new business I created with Sarah and Rebecca last summer. Worked with 23 business owners to create a plan for what they want to do. Hosted 3 in-person BeaverCon retreats.
But – danggit! – I don’t want to die with my non-commercial writing still inside me.
I want to die like an empty tube of toothpaste: all used up.
But here’s the thing about seeing ideas that haven’t happened yet: it’s a drug.
I tried opium once, when I was young and on vacation in Thailand. And I find that it’s a lot like the drug of seeing possibilities – it suspends you in the Dreamtime.
Nothing hurts, and everything feels okay.
I can’t really blame anyone who wants to feel that way. Life is beautiful, but it’s also horrible and hurts like hell sometimes.
But the fact is, you can hang out in the Dreamtime, or you can say, ‘you know, I can’t do ALL the things, but I can do the ones that are mine to do’… and then step into the arena and be willing to fight, flail, fail, learn, and go after what’s yours to do, with all your heart.
One of the things I’ve noticed about the plans Sarah, Rebecca, and I put together for our clients is that we help them take ALL THEIR IDEAS and find homes for them in time.
This idea? Put all your focus here for the next 18 months. Here are the exact steps you need to take to do that. And we’ll make sure you don’t – squirrel! – get distracted or off track as you go. That’s what we’re here for!
This one? Don’t touch it until you’ve got the first idea up and running like a well-oiled machine.
This other idea over here? It’s actually not for you. Here’s why. And here’s the desire you have that’s underneath it. So what if you did this other thing, would that feel more like you? Simpler? More in line with who you are and what you’re all about?
Where I got to in my writing practice this morning is that I’m actually right on track.
I need to have a stable income from this business to ‘keep myself in Cheerios,’ as we say around here.
And I needed this past year to mourn the loss of working by myself, grieve all the changes that last fall brought (even as I welcomed and consciously chose them!), and make room for what’s coming into form this fall.
I’m working from a plan – a three-phase plan. And just because I can see all three phases now doesn’t mean I can DO them all NOW.
So I find myself, like so many of our clients, shifting my understanding of time.
From ‘I see it – let’s do it NOW’ to ‘I see it – and will put all my focus on the phase of growth I’m in now, and be ruthless about saying NOT YET.’
I need to be real with you – Sarah and Rebecca taught me this concept.
But gawd, is it ever itchy right now.
Stella is cofounder and copywriter at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. As our resident word nerd, she writes copy and points out the stories everyone is living and telling through their work. She is also fun at parties.
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