- Someday Lesson: Something that at first appears to be totally unproductive might just be the thing to get you unstuck.
(This post is a part of Confident Writing‘s group writing project on community)
Since moving to San Sebastian, I’ve pretty much let Raúl take control of our social life. After all, he’s from here and is the native Spanish speaker. Besides, I’ve been busy building my online community of bloggers, personal development types and writers.
Recently, however, that’s left me feeling unsatisfied and out of balance. I’m part of Raúl’s community, but I don’t have a community of my own. Yes, his friends are my friends, but we interact in a second degree kind of way.
So, I’ve started making an effort to turn off the computer and get out of the house. I now run with one friend which usually turns into a glass of wine and sometimes dinner after, and I have a weekly coffee with another friend. And when Raúl goes out of town (and my work schedule or budget don’t allow me to go with him), I don’t become a ‘Net hermit, hiding in my little English-only online bubble.
I’d been resisting building a face-to-face community here because I wanted to put all my energy and focus into writing and building my online community/business. But guess what? Surprise, surprise! My face-to-face connections here have actually helped my writing.
Take this week’s coffee with a friend for example. He’s training to be a coach and I’ve offered to be his guinea pig when he needs to do stuff with other people. On Wednesday, therefore, he led me through an exercise where we examined what I saw as a negative attitude in myself, specifically my inability to stay focused on my writing even though it’s what I love to do most.
After lots of discussion (in Spanish – ever tried to explain your emotions in a language that’s not your mother tongue? – it forces you to be very exact in the words you choose), we determined that I don’t let myself write with joy. Why? Because…
- I walk away from it after ten minutes.
- I put the objective (finishing a project) up on a pedestal.
- I let rejections drag me down.
- I don’t take my own advice.
- I question how good my writing actually is.
Following on yesterday’s Lab Rat exercise, we then talked about what I could do to turn all of these negatives into positives that would allow me to write with joy? This what we came up with…
- I am capable of staying focused.
- I can live in the moment and focus on the act of writing instead of the outcome.
- I can look for new opportunities when feeling discouraged.
- I can go help someone and pay attention to the advice I give them.
- I know that my writing rocks and that I’m the puta madre.
If I’d stayed at home and not made that face-to-face connection, I’d probably still be distracting myself with negative talk and random Internet surfing, aimless Twittering and many other non-activities that would just make me feel more guilty and more likely to continue avoiding my writing.
How has your community (either virtual or face-to-face) helped you overcome self-sabotaging beliefs and attitudes?