We have already discussed four enemies of the art–Approval Addiction, Psychic Vampires, F.E.A.R, and pride. What I find so fascinating is how all of these enemies seem to link together, forming a net that can ensnare us, trapping our muse and strangling her. When we are addicted to approval, we are far more likely to tolerate Psychic Vampires. Psychic Vampires feed off drama, conflict and misery and one of their favorite weapons is F.E.A.R. These types of people love using fear. Why? Because as humans we are wired to combat fear, and Psychic Vampires use this to their advantage.
When we are upset, our brains default to limbic mode—fight or flight. Unfortunately, we can’t operate in the primal brain and the higher thinking centers at the same time. This means that, in the reptile brain, we are prone to making dumb decisions. If a Psychic Vampire can keep us rattled, frightened and upset, we are far more likely to give in, to let them have their way because we are just trying to escape. The really bad part about this limbic mode is it’s great for fight or flight, but creativity can’t dwell there.
This is one of the major reasons that we must clean house and remove toxic people if we want to be successful.
It seems so easy, doesn’t it? When I write this here in black and white, it makes sense. If it is so simple, why don’t we do it? Pride often makes us prone to think we can handle more than is healthy. We aren’t being honest that we need rest, because we want others to see us as strong, or more put-together than we really are.
Another reason for this poor judgement (and far more common)? Plain and simple. We’re tired. Rest is critical for so many things. When we rest, we can calm down. When we can calm down, we gain clarity. When we gain clarity, it’s easier to recognize then remove toxic people. When we rest, we can start to see our agendas more clearly.
Am I doing this for me, or to PLEASE/APPEASE someone else?
Give Ourselves Permission to Rest
In our Western culture we are all go, go, go, go, GO! AND GO FASTER! Vacations are frowned upon. We feel like we need to be productive every waking hour, yet this is a LIE.
Busy work and productivity aren’t the same thing. A hamster can run in his tiny wheel all day long and get nowhere. So can we. We can be so tired we fail to discern the urgent from the important. Everyone wants everything instantly and we need to set firm boundaries.
I’ve had people who just pushed and pushed and pushed to get what they wanted immediately. You know what I had to learn to say?
I AM NOT McDonalds. I have no MAKE-YOU-HAPPY MEALS and no drive-thru.
We have to be firm and be in charge our our own agendas. People can learn to wait. In fact, it might be good for them.
Understand Your Brain
The human mind is essentially a dual-processing unit. It’s always taking in information, sorting, making connections even when we are working on other things. The only way the mind can truly work its magic is if we back off the throttle. Some of the greatest inventions in human history didn’t come while in the lab, sitting at the piano, or hunched over a typewriter. The ideas came during a nap, on a walk or in a warm, relaxing shower. The body and mind could relax enough for the AHA! moment.
It isn’t Goofing Off; It’s WORK
For writers, reading is essential. So is watching movies, traveling, going for a walk or even attending a party and joining in (or eavesdropping) on conversations. This is all the “data” we feed into our brain, the ingredients we give it to mix together to create the magic. Don’t berate yourself for watching a movie or playing with your kids. Great writers LIVE LIFE and that’s why their characters sound like people…NOT characters.
What are your thoughts? Are you chronically overworked? Do you have a hard time just resting? Does it make you feel lazy? Is it hard for you to simply play? Have you overcome these feelings? How did you repair your distorted relationship with rest? What ways do you employ to ensure you are rested?
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of February, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of February I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!
January’s WINNER will be announced Monday.
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.