About a month ago, around the same time I revamped this little effort of a website and blog, I announced my plan to spend 30 days building a new routine and mindset and doing so without resetting back to a “day one” mentality on a regular basis. I then laid out what I learned just two weeks into the effort. The reason for all of this was because I previously found myself habitually procrastinating, trying a new routine frequently but always starting back over, and I was quite honestly tired of getting no where from this unproductive loop of crap. Hence the term, no more resets.
The plan was to spend 30 days consistently working on myself creatively, physically, and mentally to change my approach on what I want to do most in life, which is to write — and I mean write a lot — connect with readers, and share my experience on what I find working, as well as insights here on the blog and through other written works and creative efforts.
I went into this with an open mind knowing that things may be different at the end of 30 days than I’d expected them to be. And good lord, was I right.
So, here’s what I learned after working on a new routine and mindset over the past month.
The mind is not what I expected.
Not at all. That isn’t really a bad thing. In fact it’s a phenomenally awesome thing.
What I expected was to go to sleep before the first day of all of this — finishing a day of former poor habits of sleeping in and not doing the things that spin that creative hum deep down — and then wake up at 5 a.m. or earlier the following day and every day from then on out, and just allow the routine to flow.
Well, turns out that’s now how the mind — at least my mind, and the way I’ve formed it — works. It’s only been during this effort that I realized how many years I’ve spent feeding my subconscious mind negative thoughts and justifying every excuse I could come up with to avoid moving forward, out of my own fear of what that might mean, the uncertainty of it all. It is because of this habitual thought process that I’ve not previously finished any of the novels I’ve started nor created a writing life on my own terms. It’s all very possible, and doable (though not easy). The good news is that this habitual pattern did not form an impenetrable concrete foundation. Still, it’s one solid barrier that’s been goddamn hard to break through.
And while I absolutely did not remain consistent in my efforts to wake up early and exercise and write exactly as I’d planned, I did consistently do something every day, making a significant dent in the mental barrier. I’ve successfully posted two blogs each week and launched my weekly newsletter. I have, for the most part, journaled every day and worked toward building out my logbook (which still needs quite a bit of work). And I’ve begun working on a new manifesto on creative mindsets that I plan to have finished in short order (more on this later). This is light years ahead of where I was even three months ago.
One thing I learned most about this month was how my mind actually works, and I was able to do this through my reading of Joseph Murphy’s book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, which I’ve already recommended and wish I’d discovered this gem of brilliance years ago.
I’ve also found a lot of similar value in the work of authorpreneur Jennifer Blanchard, who has written extensively about the power of the mind as it relates to creating the lives we want (specifically as writers). Check out her recent post on getting rid of back-up plans, which, she explains, are actually hazardous to achieving what we want most.
Resistance is stronger than I thought, and equally as deceitful.
Steven Pressfield has written a whole legacy of books on the element of Resistance (capital “R” here, folks), its importance in our lives, how we can face and defeat it daily. His books on this — The War of Art, Turning Pro, Do the Work, Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit — are nothing short of eye-opening. They complement one another well, serving as a veritable four-piece collective work that will undoubtedly kick you into high gear of creative efforts.
I don’t think I really understood the impact of resistance (I’m deliberately using little “r” here) until this past month, and how much of a beast it is in my life. But as I’ve learned, fear (the basis of resistance), is more of a guide and a teacher than an enemy. I’m now realizing the importance of saying hello face-to-face with this bastard rather than slamming the door on it with the hopes that it’ll just goes away.
Because it never will.
And so, we might as well get moving and make it comfortable, then learn how to dance around its deceitful trickster ways.
Action is attraction.
And among the best way to dance with resistance is by acting. It’s a simple concept: you want to achieve something? Then do it. You want to write that novel? Learn as much as about craft as you can, read everything you can digest, write as much as you possibly can. Every successful writer ever would provide this kind of advice. Because it’s true.
This all sounds simple, and it is. But by no goddamn means is it easy.
It is by taking those steps (however small) and acting on them that brings a thing into fruition.
Despite the fact I didn’t get everything accomplished I wanted to this past month, the mere small steps I’ve taken have already forged a path, and I can see in the hazy distance where it might lead. That, truly, excites the hell out of me. It’s a path I knew was there in my subconscious but didn’t see it in my conscious mind. Couldn’t. The path doesn’t appear until you start moving.
“Leap, and the net will appear,” as John Burroughs said. Truth, identified. The ripple effect.
What’s my point in all this?
Movement. However small those steps might be at first, take them. Your stride will lengthen over time, and probably more quickly than you’d hoped.
So get moving.