Living
Comments 6

Stepping Away

When we push ourselves beyond comfort, we grow, correct?  When we want to do something better, we practice, persevere, and change our routines in order to develop better habits and mastery, don’t we?  So in trying to improve my blog by reviewing old posts while writing new ones that I edit more closely, am I becoming a sharper writer by focusing so much longer on one post at a time while chained to my chair, or am I becoming stupider because I cannot process nor execute anything substantial within an eight hour work period?

The Smarty Pants part of my mind thinks that the list of new ideas sprouting left and right are ingenious,  but the Annie Adderall part sees that these ideas take no root and then I am quickly bored by them.  Is my cognitive processing tearing down old muscle to build newer stronger mental muscle or am I just diminishing any function I have left? Do you ever think, “Hmm… maybe I’m NOT getting better at this?  Maybe I can’t REALLY do everything I have my mind set to?” That’s a pretty stupid way to think, isn’t it?

Stepping away for a weekend to let these negative thoughts cannibalize each other is what I needed to do.  My gut came in to tell me that stupidity is not the mental challenge I am struggling with.  My doubts that scream, “This effort and time are meaningless,”  is what is stupid. The resistance of the mind and the resistance of one’s will does not signal I am getting stupider at what I do. I am phenomenal at nitpicking when it comes to my writing (in)ability. It’s a hard habit to break.

When we put in genuine, heartfelt thought and action into something over and over again, it is going to result in cumulatively helping us get better at the work. This was a hard message for me to believe, even though it came out of my mouth (by way of other much more insightful gurus whose words I love to read and listen to).

When in doubt, you just have to step away. In my case, it was time to step away from stupid. Take a trusted friend along for the journey or make new ones, like I did. Lucky for me my steps took me all the way to Spicewood, Texas.

TxSC-37

Photo taken by Chelsea Laine Francis

Step away, even if you aren’t exactly sure where you are going. 

explore

Adventure photos c/o Tagspire (obviously)

Fill the well

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Replace your negative talk with positive talk.

TxSC-85

At times like these,  positive words are better when they aren’t always your own. Photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Listen to the words of someone smarter than you. Find out what makes them so smart. Get smarter yourself.

Be busy – the crafty kind

the fun loving kind

the soulful kind

soulful txsc15

Photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Write it all down. Talk about your lightbulb moments with friends. Find your champions/tribe. Listen to what they have to say. Listen to what your intuition and your heart tell you.

write engage txsc15

Photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Then go home and get right back into it. It’d be stupid not to.

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Tiny Prints Pillow Photo by Chelsea Laine Francis

Thank you, Indiana, and to the staff and campers at Texas Style Council.  Not only did I see how smart you all are, I was able to see how smart my gut is after all.

Check out the fun we had on Instagram #TXSC15 and read up on other recaps & camper notes on Twitter using the same hashtag if you would like to see more of the action from the weekend.

Remember, it was not just fun and games – we did a lot of serious work.  This was a conference/ workshop afterall.  But you can’t blame us gals for having a heck of a grand time in the process!

6 Comments

    • Robin! Thank you so much for this link. I particularly liked this point:

      “So, maybe self-talk is more than a confidence booster. From a neuroscience perspective, it might be more like internal remodeling.”

      Lately I catch myself about to say, “I’m trying to…” and change it to, “I am currently working towards..” or changing “I can’t ever …” to “I’m getting better at ….”

      It works wonders and is more than motivating, it is definitely attitude and behavior changing. Thanks for engaging in the discussion, Robin!

  1. Bobbie, I love this post: not only because it’s about TxSC15 (loved it, loved meeting you too!) but you’ve articulated an issue that I’ve been having with my writing for years. I have a really hard time focusing and sitting down to just force myself to write a prescribed amount. I tend to sit down at the computer, write a line or two, go get a snack, come back and write another sentence, start cleaning the bathroom… it’s a miracle I made it through grad school (and that I’m a blogger!) with habits like this. The adage is true that we’re often our own worst critic, and I think that translates to our processes as well as the work itself. Can’t wait to keep following your work!

    • Hi Liz! I was excited to see that you came by my blog! Welcome to my writing! When you raised your question at the ‘Shift’ talk, I felt that we had much in common as writers, and reading how similar indeed this obstacle is in your comment makes me feel less ‘scattered’ and nuts. You’re right, the self criticism translates to what we produce, and that just perpetuates a vicious cycle. Time to stop, or at least slow it down (because, frankly, the self criticism will not completely end, it will just change). Using it to push and motivate versus break us down is the challenge. Let’s do this together, friend-tor!

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