Friday, March 25, 2011

Sometimes, It's Okay Not to Wear a Life Jacket

I recently did something amazing. I mean, really amazing. The kind of thing that makes you sit back in stunned awe and say, "Was that really me who did that? And was it really that good?"

What did I do?

I wrote a book.

Not just any book, because I've written a lot of those. I wrote a book that was so special and so amazing that I blew myself away. See, I had been struggling with my book I was supposed to be writing. Just couldn't get a handle on it. I was doubting myself, feeling the pressure of delivering something my editor would like, that my readers would like. I was judging everything I wrote, trying so hard to get it right, until every day was a struggle and every night I would lie in bed, wondering how I was going to come up with something Good Enough the next day.

The harder I tried, the more difficult it was becoming. I realized that I becoming my own worst obstacle, and I had to find a way to free myself. So, I decided to take a couple weeks off and write something just for me. Something that I wasn't going to try to sell. Something that simply came from my heart and my soul.

I started to write that day.  I had no idea where the story was going (I always plot my books very carefully), and I didn't even know what type of book I was going to write, or even who the characters were. I just quieted my mind, listened to my heart, and began to type. And you know what? It was the most brilliant, most amazing, most soul-inspiring experience I'd ever had since the day I picked up a keyboard and wrote my first book. I wrote without judgment, I wrote without goals, I wrote without an agenda. I just wrote what felt good to write.

The book wrote itself, the entire thing, in 18 days, and I spent only about three hours a day writing. The words literally flew from my spirit onto the computer screen. I never had to stop and think, I never had to redirect, I simply allowed my soul to fly. The result? The most beautiful story that makes my heart sing when I think of it.

I haven't done anything with the story yet. I haven't sent it to my agent. It is just sitting there, on my computer, showing me the magic I can create when I stop trying so hard, and simply raise my face to the sunlight and let the winds take me. And now, when I sit down at the computer to write contracted books, I revisit that place that I wrote from, and I feel the energy and peace of that experience carry me forward again.

We spend our lives living in the shadow of obligation, of judgment, of performing roles and duties for others. It can weigh us down so tremendously that it stifles our ability to create and live and perform at the level that we're truly capable of. Pick a day, a week, a month, and do something for you. Just for you. Do it simply and only because your spirit is calling for it. See what happens. See how you feel.  Break the rules and jump in the river without a lifejacket, and trust that your inner self can show you the way. Have you ever tried it? Share your story. I'm sure it's beautiful.


Sharon S. said...

what a wonderful story :) I think I am going to take voice lessons. I can't carry a tune to save my life, but I would like to.

Stephanie Rowe said...

Sharon, that is an awesome idea! I love singing and can't sing at all, but I would love to. You inspire me!

Marguerite Lafayette said...

That is wonderful! I am glad you were able to blow yourself away. I recently had a similar experience. Around Christmas I had written the start to a paranormal Christmas tale that I was going to use for a free read on a blog. Things didn't work out and I shelved it. I was recently sorting through my Dropbox and opened it (somewhat worried I had screwed up an edit job). I vividly recall saying "Damn, I wish I could write like this!" Then I came across a bit of dialog and it hit me, this IS mine! LOL.

It is so funny how we sometimes limit ourselves without even realizing it. I guess sometimes we truly are our worst critics. I can't wait to read your story.

Deena said...

Congrats on your book, Stephanie! What a blessing it is when a story shakes you and wakes you and speaks through you.

Denise Vega said...

that was beautiful I can't write or sing my girls can vouch for that. but I am very good at taking care of 3 of my grandkids i've been doing it for 11 1/2 yrs. And I find joy in teaching them & reading to them & yes singing with them they do't care how bad gramma sing LOL

Angie Fox said...

That is such a blessing, Denise. Some of my favorite memories from when I was a kid from spending the day with my grandmother. She didn't try to clean the house or do laundry or do anything else except be with me - like you're doing with your grandkids - and boy, did we know it and feel so special because of it.

Angie Fox said...

Great post, Stephanie. And so inspiring. I need to try something like that.

Shawntelle Madison said...

Great post Stephanie!

Oh Denise! Just like Angie, I have fond memories of my grandmother who took care of me. :D