Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Middle Ground

Do you remember the last time you had one of those weeks where everything moved along seamlessly? There was a natural ebb and flow to life, almost as if you were floating on a cloud. You felt unstoppable. That was me last week. I stayed focused and worked daily on the synopsis for my novel. Most of the time I felt like I was writing uphill, but I was determined to get this particular piece of writing done. Showing up at the page day after day, and despite my frustrations, I completed the synopsis. But I kept on pushing on, doing what I loved to do, and that’s what counted. That’s what made it not feel like work. Finishing something, I felt unstoppable.

When I wasn’t writing, I was running the Martin Goodman Trail along the lakefront. I’m doing my best to stay active and healthy, and last week, spread over five runs, I managed to put in 40 km. I’m working to improve my endurance and increase my pace. Slowly but surely, I am doing these things.

There was just something about last week that felt magical, that shored up my confidence, that renewed my faith and belief in my artistic journey that I am indeed on the right path. As an artist, that is critical for me because it gives me the courage to keep on keeping on.

As this week begins, I find myself in a hinterland, in a much more wobbly state. With the synopsis written, I’m back to editing my manuscript. I am attempting to navigate that uncomfortable “Middle Ground” the point where I’m trying to bring a project full circle and suddenly uncertain of the way forward. Working my way through the manuscript, I let fear tackle me: What am I thinking? Is this book any good? Who’ll want to read it, anyway? Tout d’un coup, last week’s confidence has ebbed, and now I’m asking myself, “What’s the use?”

The Middle Ground is that place in my creative process where, on the verge of completing a project, I wonder if I will have the courage to see it through and to, eventually, put it out there for public consumption. Will I believe in the work? Will I, still, believe in me? The Middle Ground, if I let it, has the power to knock the wind out of me. Danger, in the name of procrastination, lurks, hoping to throw me off course. So I have to redouble my efforts to show up at the page and write. I have to believe in the work as it is and resist the urge to chuck it all and begin again. I have to have faith and courage to, as I have done before, keep on keeping on.

This week’s task will be to move out of this Middle Ground. How will I do that? I will keep editing, keep doing the necessary work without letting my inner critic take control. I will write my Morning Pages. I`ll get out for a run. I will let myself “play” because, when I take time to rest, to let my body and mind recharge, I am able to come back and tackle my artistic projects with a new vigour, see their worth and mine from a new perspective.

Today, then, is about holding on to hope. And that much I can do.

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