Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Note to Self: I Have Promises to Keep

I was grabbed by Orna Ross's Creative Intelligence blog post about the paradox of creative intention. She advises us to look at intention, not as a plan, but as a guiding principle, recognizing that despite the force that focused intention can create to make things happen, there are equally forceful and opposing actions being served up by the universe that may derail us from achieving what we really want.

For the sake of clarity, I am listing "Orna's paradoxes" here:
* To clearly visualise what we want, then let go of any attachment to the outcome.
* To be prepared to do our part while allowing life to do its.
* To work well and make appropriate efforts while also playing well, with lots of rest, relaxation, contemplation and meditation.
* To be persistent but not bull-headed.
* To work towards success while welcoming failure as a learning opportunity.
* To be resilient but not self-satisfied.
* To know what we want at the same time as knowing we are complete without it.
* To fully appreciate what we’ve already (co)created while directing energy towards what we’re (co)creating now.

But what about the question of setting clear intentions - and holding them central? Case in point: my novel in progress, After the Party's Over. Already two years in the writing and 90+ pages in, I have been stymied for months over forcing my seat in the chair to move the plot forward. I am waiting for the main character to tell me what's on her mind. She has revealed quite a bit recently, but I find my eyes glued elsewhere, not to her.

The paradox of inattention has derailed my best intentions. What's keeping me from writing?

First, paying clients. This is a good thing, as we have to eat and pay the mortgage. But there is a paradox. In my social marketing business, I help scientists, educators, researchers, and health professionals tell their stories. Storytelling still - just not my own.

Next, as part of my professional toolkit, I use social media. My professional blog offers a way to amplify client stories, as well as initiate discussions with colleagues and engage in conversations about social marketing. In my novel, some of the characters text and tweet, but no serious social networking is keeping them from living their lives as I write them.

Then, of course, Twitter. I am pretty judicious about turning off the Tweetdeck when it comes to meeting client deadlines. Just not my own. In fact, I had every intention of writing three pages a day during November or, in tweet-speak, #NaNoWriMo. That is, until client deadlines interfered. So I postponed my personal NaNoWriMo for December. And here we are, mid-December, and my poor main character Ellen is still frozen in time waiting at the airport in Detroit, having met up with her ex-husband, the one she walked out on, leaving their three children to his care years before. They are suspended in time until I get my butt on the seat and fingers on keyboard to write them a surprise encounter.

Family, college applications for youngest son, dogs...these are things I have let get in the way.

But it is still December, when miracles do happen. I have high hopes for the week between Xmas and New Year's, when NOTHING HAPPENS IN WASHINGTON, to turn my attentions to fulfilling my better intentions before another year slips away.

Because storytelling is what I do. Fully recognizing the paradox in this plan, my intention is to make my own at least as important as everyone else's.

What about you?