I show up every morning, ready to write.
I show up in the same manner that I show up for my other job - ready. For that other job, as soon as I put my uniform on at home, I'm mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared to do that job. As soon as I arrive at that job, I dive into the work.
During that time, I am unavailable for anything or anyone else, other than what pertains to that job. I don't take personal phone calls, or do anything outside that job, unless it's an emergency. Everyone I know respects that, and understands - I'm at work.
Setting a time and space to write, however, is not quite viewed the same way. It's not seen, nor understood as being "at work." I do understand the challenge. If I were actually published, and making some money off this work, then it would probably be easier for folks to understand. "Oh, she's writing. She's working." Because what it actually looks like from the outside while I'm writing, (working), is that I'm just sitting around, doing nothing.
After I wake up, I slowly turn my attention toward, and tune in to the Muse. I listen to what bubbles up from within me. I mentally sort through what I "hear," or "see," which requires no outside distractions. If I have to hole up in my room for the space to do that, I'll do it. If I do not have a room to hole up in, I'll be outside...sitting and listening. I will not take personal calls while "doing" that. In fact, most of the time my phone isn't even near me. I don't know where it is. I don't care. I'm at work.
After I'm done mentally sorting through what I hear, and I've finally focused on what I'll be writing, I put it into action in that very moment. I get up, go to the computer, or grab my notebook, and I write. Now it's more of a transcribing of what I "hear," and you would think the transcription would come easily, but in actuality, it doesn't at first. There is, for me anyway, a kind of atmospheric layer of "debris" to fire through before reaching "The Zone," which is the place of flow. It is where self is completely moved out of the way, and any and all resistance is dealt with and gone - when hands and paper, or keyboard, and page become one. In that Zone, the outside world disappears completely. I don't hear it. I don't see it. I'm in the Zone.
If you knew the level of commitment, dedication, and discipline it has required for me to show up every morning to write, (just like my day job), you would probably be astounded by my absolute resolve in doing this line of work. I ain't messin' around. I don't treat it, or even see it as anything "fluffy," or as "just a hobby." It is a form of expression I have decided on, and whether I "make it" or not remains to be seen.
Yet to make it happen requires doing it - showing up and working it, going through the steps, no matter how achingly small they are. There is no dream, no goal, no vision, that manifests over night. Of course, there are some rare exceptions, but the majority of folks start at the bottom. We don't build a house without first building a strong foundation, then build it up brick by brick. It isn't easy, building a dream, a vision from nothing to something. I don't believe anyone ever said it would be. And most likely, with all the rough terrain we must walk through, whether it's on the inside - plaguing doubts, etc. - or coming from the outside - no one taking you, or what you are doing seriously, etc. - it will either make or break you, depending on your level of commitment.
The majority of people who really know me are acutely aware of the sometimes annoying characteristic that I have called Persistence. It's only annoying to them when it is going against what they want, or think I should be doing instead. I've had some people become outright enraged, or believe I am betraying them and their dream, over what I am doing - which, remember, is simply sitting quietly writing - and I've been called lazy, worthless, a piece of shit, and a no-good fucking bitch, (and the horrible and horrifying list of those labels goes long). I've been asked who it is I think I am for even remotely considering I might have anything of value to share - all of this because I have persisted in my personal dedication and commitment to my dream, and won't budge from showing up every morning to work toward manifesting it. I've even been thrown out on my ass from places I dwelled because of this block of time and space I have for my "work."
Yet still, I persist.
Because when you have a dream, that's what it requires. If I could do it all day long I would, but I recognize there are other folks to deal with, another job to go to, and other things that need my attention. The mornings and my days off are the only time I have to give to my dream, my work. I've tried writing at night, but by the end of the day I'm too exhausted to even think, much less write.
As I mentioned, I began committing myself to this venture a few years ago. I realized then that if I don't actually schedule it into my day, make time for it, and do it, then it will be constantly put on the back burner for "some other time." The time is now, and if "Writer" is my dream, then "writing" is what I need to be physically-sitting-my-butt-down doing. And...no one else will take it seriously until I do.
Yet, I think some of the problem is no one else can really see what I am building. Not yet anyway. Other than right here on this blog. (*Waves*...Hello!). While they believe I'm in my cave doing nothing, I'm actually doing a rough draft first...if you could call it that. I'm not sure it is even formed enough to be called a "draft" when it first comes out. Then the piecing together, and fine tuning that rough piece of work comes later, which also takes work, and attention to detail, and a focus on cutting, or keeping, or re-wording. It's work, and there are times I've felt I've wanted to tear my hair out, or throw my monitor across the room. I've actually done that with notebooks, then glare at it, splayed across the floor...then I feel bad, and I'll go pick it up gently, take a deep breath, and try again, with a little more patience.
This dream has not been easy for me to begin, or to set a foundation of habitually showing up for it so it can be manifested, while at the same time walking through poverty, having to move a gazillion times, and struggling to care for and support myself in all ways that matter. Not only have I gone through major changes and challenges, and trying like hell to adjust to them, but I'm also making major adjustments as I go, and adapting the best of my ability. And, frankly, with age, (because I ain't no spring chicken anymore!), and with my other job, and the daily stresses of life and living - I'm feeling all of it is exacting a price. I don't like admitting that, even to myself, but it's kind of difficult to ignore a fatigued body in pain.
I recently told a friend of mine that I'm literally having to drive myself beyond what my body is screaming it's capable of doing. I also feel driven to manifest this dream of writing, and I'm willing to pay the price it is asking of me.
I get up. I show up. I'm working it, and the going is slow. There is rarely a day off from it, but it helps that I also love it. And I think that is why most folks view it as "play." They feel and sense that I am enjoying this "work." I know my energy changes. I'm lighter, happier. Not doing it...I get itchy, and cranky - like my roommate told me she feels when she goes too long without riding her horse.
In the past, I've given %100 of myself to supporting other people's dreams, leaving mine on the back burner. A long time ago, I was once married to a man who loved rocks, and mining for rocks. His family and friends treated it like play, and thought he should get a "real job," or focus on a "real career." I knew that would have killed his free spirit. I mention him because he is the very first person I encountered in my life who demonstrated a passion and love for the career of his choice. I remember watching him, and wanted what he had, but at the time it was a mysterious quality to me. My dream was still in hiding, veiled beneath a thousand messages of "shoulds." He had many of those same voices coming from the outside of himself, but he did what he wanted to anyway. He showed up for his work everyday. Little by little, step by step, he was building something, a business, a practice, making the daily effort it required. It slowly paid off. He now runs a multi-million dollar business. His family and friends ate their earlier words.
Watching and helping him in his early years inspired me to begin questioning those "shoulds" I had come to obey, and it was only a matter of time that I finally discovered my own passion, my dream, and the voice of my heart.
In every possible way I am leaning my entire being toward the realization of this dream. There is no one who can take what I am doing personally. It's not about anyone but myself. In fact, it took near Herculean effort, and a social worker getting in my face, to turn the tide within myself, and to place value and importance on my own dream. To wake me up to the fact that I needed to actually practice what I've preached to so many others. To walk my talk.
Now it's my turn. I'm standing up, showing up, and working it. That's all I can do. The rest is up to the mysterious workings of the Fates. But after all is said and done, I'll know I gave it all I had. And that.. I can live and die with.