Wisps of motivation pass through my chest like dying comets. I can't grab them too eagerly because they dissolve, my fingers raking through the tendrils following behind their cores. Instead, I cup my hands beneath them and slowly enclose their potential before I hurry to secure them away for closer examination.
I need to focus.
How often do I say that? It's not a skill that I can master. I seize on focus just long enough to obliterate a deadline and then find myself in the murky depths of static and wandering again.
The things I want to do are pinpoints of light ahead of me, around me, overhead, but all I can do is slowly spin around as though my goals are a night sky, sparkling for my leisurely entertainment.
I'm supposed to navigate by my night sky.
I need to focus. I have things to do. I have things I want to do.
I'm so close.
I quit BlissDom.
Nothing dramatic, I simply reached the end of that creative exercise.
Designing the educational content for a conference, selecting and planning with speakers, all of it is exciting and exhausting. All of it is very much dependent on creativity. I put everything I had into it, looked with pleasure upon my work, and clapped my hands in satisfaction at a job well done. And then I was done and we were all happy.
Knowing when to call an end to our projects and partnerships is challenging. We are all so good at so many things, but it's important to know when to sow, when to cull, when to call it done and till our ground anew.
Quitting BlissDom has not been enough, though. I thought it would be. As I thought I had cleared the way, I focused my eyes on my next burning ball of gas in my night sky and found my vision hindered.
I'm so close but I still can't focus.
I'm looking forward to BlogHer in August because that conference always helps me refocus on what I truly want to do with myself. Every new person that I meet, I look for myself in them. I feed off of their enthusiasm and light and bounce from their frustrations. Every interaction is a reminder of what I do and do not want to do in this space.
I return home with a deeply resounding, "Ah yes, how could I forget?" in my chest.
I empty myself out at BlogHer so that I can hear what remains and echos in the empty space, in the darkened space, finally allowing me to see the stars again.
You need not attend a conference in order to do the same. I read a post by my friend Tsh the other day titled Create Before You Consume that spoke of this sense of emptying yourself out:
[Y]ou need to pour yourself out before you fill up with other people’s ideas. What does this look like, practically-speaking? For me, it means not checking my email, Facebook, Twitter stream, Pinterest, feed reader, or any other medium until I pour out my own words first.
As I mentioned in her comments, I am thoroughly guilty of filling my head with the noise of the outside world before making room for myself to create. As a result, I leave myself no room to create. I begin my day inadvertently focused on what other people need from me, how I can help others elevate their projects, or an ultimately black hole of admiration-cum-envy of others' creative works.
And then there's nothing left. No room remains for me to create of myself.
Think of that night sky again; the stars our goals and dreams. Now turn on the lights on the ground.
Thousands of lights. Glorious and fascinating and important. Those lights are all of the distractions of this space, creating light pollution with the best of intentions and capable of obscuring our night sky. We can still make out our stars, but they aren't as distinct.
We need focus. I need focus. I love all of these gorgeous lights on the ground but I need to learn when to turn them off, even just for the moment.
We all need focus.
I am, once again, forcing myself to turn out some of these lights on the ground, lifting my head from distractions. I can't navigate by my night sky with so much ambient light.
Talk with me about what you do to preserve yourself in this brilliant space. What do you think of Tsh's concept of emptying yourself of your words or art before consuming others' work? Headed to BlogHer or another conference? Do you use it as a time to rediscover your focus or does it deplete you? As a creative, what does it take to navigate by your night sky?
Enter Your Cave
Do What You're Doing While You're Doing It
Don't Let the Fairy Dust Gag You: Phenomenon of Blog Closures After Conferences
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