The Muddle is Real

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A few months back, I made a very enthusiastic commitment to finish a whole new draft of my YA novel by OCTOBER 31st (my birthday). You might see where this is going.  So, 16 more days. Will I make it?

I’m in the messy middle of the story, aka The Muddle.  It’s the place that feels like fumbling in the dark without your glasses on, hoping not to stub a toe. I keep looking ahead, grabbing onto walls and other stationary landmarks. And yes, I think I can see the light. A few things that are helping me make my way to the finish line:

Support.  Each weekday morning, I meet with a group of like-minded creatives for silent co-working. It feels great just seeing the faces of those who are in the trenches with me. I can feel their love, even through the screen.  Then, every Friday, I meet with a fellow YA author and we trade stories, share ideas and cheer each other on. Writing can be lonely, and I am so grateful for these connections. 

Sunshine.  I need need need to get outside every day and move my body. Some days it’s running.  Every day that it’s not, I’m walking for miles. It helps me think, and on the move, I always make more connections than I do when I’m staring at a screen.

An Audacious Daily Word Count Goal.  For months, I was content with adding 300 words a day to my story. This is because I am terrible at math.  If I’d paid more attention, I would have realized that at 300 words, I might finish my story sometime next Spring.  Now I aim for 1500 a day, which is about 6 pages.  I don’t always succeed,, but now I work as long as my schedule allows and I’m getting there. 

The art that we make is also making us. 
I’m not talking about the end product, but the process.     

And not the creative process itself, but who you become through it. 

The person who begins the project is not the same as the one who finishes it.You will have traveled. You will have struggled. And in the end, you will learn more about yourself than you ever would have if you stayed home and binge-watched Netflix, or opted to go through your email or organize that closet or the million ways you distract and numb yourself from doing the thing you really love.It’s time to start. Not for the purpose of  finishing, but to grow. 

Tell me two things:When you’re in a creative sprint, what are your must haves?Who are you becoming through your creative project? 

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.                                         
~ Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, Essential Rumi

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