Inspiration of the Self-Reliance 30-Day Writing Challenge

To celebrate Ralph Waldo Emerson's 208th birthday (May 25th, 1803), Self-Reliance urges us to trust our intuition rather than conforming to the will of the majority.

Beginning on May 31st, 2011, The Ralph Waldo Emerson Self-Reliance website*** will post a daily prompt. This will continue for 30 days.

This is my unique creation of personal reflection and responses, based on those prompts.

***See link below for the site.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dare to be Bold

“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneur’s worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.
A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. Its only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” - Steven Pressfield, Do the Work
The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.
Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold.
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down.
 Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.
The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?

My first initial thought, when I read this challenge, was my dream to be a published writer.  So, I’m gonna go with that one for this topic.  Notice, I used the word “dream”?  Coincidence?  One synonym for “dream” is “fantasy”, which immediately implies something that is far out of reach.  Is this what I’ve created in my mind?  Have I turned my dream into an unattainable fantasy?

However, another synonym for “dream” is “vision”.  Simply by changing the definition, my dream suddenly appears to become a potential accomplishment in my reality.

It’s not so much fear that’s preventing me from becoming a published writer.  At least, I don’t believe this is the case; unless I’m in denial and just may not notice. 

Now that I’ve identified “WHAT” has been hidden within me, being secluded behind the walls of “being realistic”, the next step of this challenge is to recognize the obstacles that are thwarting my efforts to reach this goal.

Beginning with the obvious, lack of time has been a valid excuse.  However, it’s simply that – just an excuse, and not justification.  Although time is limited, it seems we always manage to make time for our priorities.  Since this has been a passion of mine, lack of time should not be standing in my way.  We are each in control of our own schedules, so time, or lack of, should not be an issue.

A big obstacle, for me, is procrastination.  However, I’m recently becoming mindful of that being more of an excuse, than a concrete obstacle.  With my new mantra “Just Do It”, procrastination should not be allowed to invade fulfillment of my vision.

As stated in the prompt above, the idea of being realistic is most likely the biggest impediment for accomplishment.  As with most types of creativity, there seems to be rules or guidelines which “they” expect to be followed. 

“They” – that group of society who seems to dictate standard operating procedures.  I’ve had difficulty grasping this concept.  Especially when it comes to something creative, should there really be directions?  Doesn’t the implementation of regulations detract from the basic individuality of creativity?)

For a moment I’ll detour from the issue of writing.  Many years ago I took a bowling class.  I had already been bowling for several years at that point, so I’d developed a style of my own.  I may not have been a great bowler, but I was capable of knocking down the pins, and most importantly I had fun.  The instructor in this class attempted to mold everyone into a clone of himself and to bowl his style.  I didn’t mind trying it, because learning is a good thing.  However, after a couple months of becoming a worse bowler, I decide I did not wish to change my personal method.  Of course, the instructor was not pleased with that. But, the point is, that my approach was successful for me.  Isn’t that all that really matters?

Another example is an art teacher I had in high school.  While other teachers graded on a student’s individual ability and creativity (Well, it was art class!), this one instructor wanted his students to draw and paint exactly as he dictated, without leaving breathing room for creativity. 

That being said, I’ll return to the creative issues with writing.  Some obstacles come disguised in the form of publishers, agents, etc.  An unpublished author, such as myself, is not welcome to submit manuscripts or query letters directly to most publishing companies, without the assistance from a literary agent.  The agents also have strict rules to follow. 

The children’s book I’ve written and acquired the copyright, was designed and written from the depths of my imagination and originality.  Instead of employing the artistic talents of an illustrator, I chose to take and use my own photos.  In my vision, my own personal photos bond perfectly with the story, bringing the main characters to life.  However, I’ve been advised that this practice is almost always rejected by publishers and agents.  This deflates my bubble of hopefulness.  Much of my original excitement and confidence disappeared upon hearing this.  And, so, the rational thought consumed my enthusiasm and motivation.  Hence – another hindrance to my progress.

Stepping away from rational thought and daring to be bold, the final component to today’s prompt, allows me the opportunity to regain my confidence and grasp the creativity of my inspiration.  When I reflect in this manner, I feel a surge of positive energy, along with the courage to be bold and unique.  Inspiration has returned and I’m ready to continue, but this time with a renewed perception of the entire project.

If I’m unable to locate a publisher who dares to be bold and join me in taking a risk, there are alternatives (such as self-publishing) that may be pursued.

The focus of my vision has become much clearer today, than it’s been for the past six years. 

This exercise has reminded me of the giant leaps taken by some of the great inventors and scientists, regardless of potential limitations and adverse criticism they received from others.  Next time doubt begins to interfere with progress, I’ll think about Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, just to name a few.

I’m jumping out of the restrictions of rational thought and soaring into the realm of unique creativity!  Look out, world – here I come!

Embrace the uniqueness of your own personal creativity! 

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