One day, one of my best friends Esther, a screenwriter, called me. She was full of anxiety.
“I don’t know where I am, what to do, and I scheduled time to write today but I just don’t want to do it. Everything I wrote yesterday was terrible. I thought I knew where the arc of my story was going. I think I’m going to go get a manicure instead.” She told me.
“Where are you right now?” I asked her.
“At my desk.”
“Good. Put your fingers on the keyboard and write,” I said.
“Really that’s all I need to do?”
“Yes. Don’t stop your fingers from typing. Call me after two hours. I love you.”
Two days later she texted me, “I finished my first draft. Woo hoo!”
That’s all we need, really, as the artists of our lives—a little encouragement, a gentle hand of permission. Once we acknowledge what wants to be seen, creativity beams down upon us because it’s so relieved.
When we put our attention on what we want, it opens up all kinds of new possibilities.
But sometimes when we show up, we’re there and ready and we stare at the blinking cursor on the screen. When we’re not necessarily distracted but don’t know how or where to begin, the easiest solution is to ask these questions:
Right now in this moment:
What calls me?
What has the most “juice”?
What lights me up or gives me the most energy?
What interests me the most or would make me my happiest?
What if I didn’t have to start where I think the beginning is?
What if it didn’t have to be in alignment with what it “should” be or fit with anything else?
What next task turns me on the most in this moment?
This intrigue helps to step in. Energy gets moving. When I start my day with work at my desk, I ask myself, “What has the most energy?”
And I begin with that task. When that task is over, I ask myself the same question again, “What has the most energy now?”
And I keep going like that, in the flow, a fluid momentum where everything seems to just advance with fun and synchronicity. My day productively unfolds with ease.
Esther called me again on another day when she got stuck on her second draft of her screenplay. She was ready and willing to write but the writing wasn’t coming. She explained she was starting the next draft on the first scene.
Our minds are linear. We think when we sit down to begin working on a project we should start at the beginning, continue through the middle and then go on to the end.
“If you think about the whole story right now, is there a part of the story that draws you the most?” I asked.
“Well, I’ve been thinking about this one character and I’d like her to be different. There’s this one scene where she’s acting this way and I want her to act another.”
“Start there,” I told her.
“Really? Shouldn’t I start the second draft from the beginning?”
“Isn’t that scene the place that has the most energy?”
“Yes!” She admitted.
When we’re in tune, we feel a YES! Our intuition knows. It tells us we’ve arrived at the right place, even if our mind questions it. Our body sighs with relief and that helps clarify our next action.
It may not be the answer we thought it would be but, with a little permission, we almost never hesitate to answer immediately.
Wishing you the utmost permission!