Life Lessons with Monica: Falling, Falling, Flying

“You will fail.

It sucks, and I hate to say it, but it’s true.”

Elizabeth Gilbert from Big Magic

Failures in life are inevitable. This has become a pervasive truth for me. Failed things have a way of piling up in excess until one day they morph into a creature akin to the Swamp Monster. If you don’t look back and kick the monster’s ass, then you are doomed to spend the remainder of your days as the sorority girl running upstairs instead of out the front door when the serial killer is in the house. Personally, I prefer to be the heroine, kick the slasher’s ass, put that final bullet in the head of the damn Swamp Monster, walk away, head held high to the rolling credits. (I’m a horror film fanatic if you couldn’t tell.) So why do I continue to write blog posts, put up social media updates, pester the professionals in a field I have hardly scratched the surface of the way into?

Simple, because I am spreading my damn wings, ready to fly! Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a fantastic novel, and novel about writing, and novel about not writing, a novel about doing a little dance with the Creativity Fairy that seems so illusive to so many authors. And I am no exception to this. Slowly over the course of the last two months I have been reading Big Magic, having gotten it as a birthday gift for my 33rd birthday. This year’s birthday I did something new, something completely out of my comfort zone, I made a yearly list of goals. Things I wanted to accomplish from June 30, 2020 to June 29, 2021. Some more ridiculous than others (like convincing my husband to allow me to get a third cat, which I am still diligently working on), some would be discussed and labeled “the hardest” and some were merely there to give me a push forward. Number one on that list was to write my first book. The other two were to conquer the fear, pain, anxiety, and sense of control I had given to a person from my past and no longer was willing to allow that power over me, and to love myself with a devotion I had never before fathomed.

Given those three goals, I would not have guessed that in order for one to occur the others would have to. I did not intend for them to have that sort of symbiotic relationship to each other. I had to stand firm upon the mountain of power of self, full to bursting with a deep abiding love for who I am, and sever the invisible cords between me and my past. In doing so, the words of my story were dislodged from the section of my brain I like to think of as the “Yeah, right!” section, and shifted firmly into the once dormant, “Creativity” section.

Voila! My first draft was finished in less than a month. 265 pages of my thoughts, put down. Some of it beautifully written. Some of it clunky and disjointed, some of it so redundant that I cannot believe that I wrote the same words hundreds of times. “So,” and “in regard to” and “However” have become my enemies. My table of contents page, well, let’s just say that I am more than a little ready to print it out, just that one, so I can do a ceremonial cleansing burn of it because some invisible negative entity has attached itself to the page, and it is trying to get me to throw in the towel. Joke’s on you dude, cause that just ain’t going to happen. (Yes, I know, I used the word ain’t. It hurt me too. I was attempting to channel my teenage daughter who loves to say it to me in a horrible “Southern” accent just to make my head explode).

Here I sit, writing these thoughts down because I know that if I don’t get them down, out, and published (without editing prior, because that is not the purpose of this blog, it is for the raw, real, unpolished manner in which my creative process works) then the editing that I need to refocus myself on will morph into a new Swamp Monster. Leave it to Elizabeth Gilbert and her words to once more get me to where I needed to get, mentally and emotionally, to shed the layers shrouding way back to my love, Writing.

My challenge to you now, is leave a comment, share the blog and tag me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tell me what your Swamp Monster does to keep you from writing, reading, painting, from CREATING? Give me a metaphor, analogy, or even tell me a story about how you slayed the raging beast and took up your pen. We are all readers and writers in some way, we are all artists, bringing more beauty into the world. Tell me a little story!

With Gratitude,

Monica

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