So I cleared two whole weeks on my calendar for a writing retreat and did everything but write. Like decluttering and reorganizing my pantry, for horrifying example.
And while quite cathartic, it was far from the original plan and brought on that failure feeling until I welcomed it as a joyful sign: Hooray! I can create a Writing Bubble Of Unusual Size!
So what if I didn’t write in it?
Good to know I don’t have a Can’t Find Time To Write problem. Or a Nothing To Write About problem. Or a No One To Write For problem.
After all, the retreat was meant to remedy the OMG, My Idea Folder Is About To Explode problem, as well as my Dude, WTF, You Haven’t Written For Big Bright Bulb In Fourteen Months problem. A twofer.
And yet I didn’t write a word. Not a one.
So, what’s the problem?
Not a rhetorical. I just asked myself that while tossing around my graceball. With no judgment, a little compassion, and a lot of curiosity, I asked.
And in telling you about the question, I just unearthed a likely answer: I was well-prepared with time, skill, resources, and a plan…but I couldn’t see the point. I had a head for the writing, but no heart.
A There’s No Point problem. Or maybe its sibling: an Unclear Purpose problem. Or its cousin, Lost Sight Of The Big Picture. Whichever it is, I’m in the right category. Now to prove to myself the work is worth doing.
It’s a heart-centered problem, so maybe daydreaming, doodling and visioning would lean through it. If not, a head-centered approach may help, like brainstorming, mindmapping or making lists. Whatever works.
Clarity through woo-woo and imagery or analysis and specificity.
Heart, head. Left-brain, right-brain. That’s what’s working for me these days…shifting a problem from one palm to the other until it transforms into something useful or dissolves and slips away.
A couple of weeks ago I found that this thing I do, this problem-dissolving, is actually a skill. Maybe a talent? I dunno. I’ve done it since my teens, it gets easier and goes faster as I get older, and improves with exposure, practice, attention and intention, so maybe it’s both.
I haven’t developed a tool for it, but I will. And when I do? That will be an interesting day…like when I realized I could monetize it.
Thing is, I didn’t think it up and then go make money from it. I made money from it and then realized what I was doing. Like some of my eurekas, it was wrapped in a joke. Like many of life’s lessons, it’s embellished with a facepalm.
In a nutshell: A client came to me with a No Idea How To Make Money problem. After gabbing for 20 minutes or so, we agreed the supposed idea shortage was actually a disguise for problems around time management, boundaries, pricing, diminished enthusiasm, and services that were neither scalable or trainable (ergo unsustainable).
Fifteen minutes later I offered she could dissolve all of those problems by teaching a workshop based on questions she gets asked all the time. Fifteen minutes after that she rang off with a soft plan, literally humming with ideas. Woohoo!
When I mentioned this on Facebook, a friend said she needed that kind of help, so I ha-ha’d—
Call me, you’ll talk, and I’ll listen until you say something that sounds like money and then repeat it back to you :-) True story.
Which was kinda funny…until I realized it was precisely what I’d just done and had been doing for years. And then it was really funny.
That I’d uncovered the process by inadvertently working it on myself? Hilarious.
And so September was a great month. Notable disappointments, quiet victories, a heap of hallelujahs, a leap of faith, and one big Do Over.
And from all of that, a better way to look at problems. Not as if they all have money in them (though they probably do), but like they’re something to play with and pluck at, rather than beat back or hide from. Like they can be more useful and fruitful than painful. And, yeah, some can be polished up and price tagged.
A fine start to the year’s end, methinks.
How about you?