NEW YEAR, NEW YOU, EH?
Whilst I’m a big fan of change and clean slates and fresh starts and bright beginnings (after all, I’m a coach!), I’m not so sure about the whole frenzy concerning altering ourselves which kicks in each January.
Firstly, as a Martha Beck Institute grad, I believe in gentle, ‘turtle step’ progress over sudden shifts which, let’s face it, usually dry up as quickly as they arrived. I tend to think of sustainable change as being like Jim Carrey, who spent years climbing to fame through the club circuit and who keeps growing steadily in terms of his skills and achievement, with New Year resolutions being, in turn, like a flashy X Factor winner who is forgotten next week!
I have been a huge fan of Madonna my whole life and I remember listening to her talk on the radio when I was a teen and hearing her say, ‘Nothing lasting is given to you on a silver platter.’
No, it isn’t.
That may sound like bad news, but, actually, it’s wonderful.
If you’re struggling to find time to write, to get an agent, to get published, to garner critical approval or grab commercial success, then know that you are a member of a huge creative family who share the same trials and who have walked the sometimes bumpy path before you. Their experiences show that if you persist, you can get to where you want with your writing life – but it just takes time.
And self-love and acceptance.
Because to create long-term wins, you need to make a long-term effort. (Check out the picture above of Madonna which Richard Corman took before she was famous – that scruff went on to rule the world, but it took her over five years to get her record deal!)
I know you get tired, doubtful, insecure, frustrated, or even sad, because this creative road we’ve chosen isn’t always an easy one.
So we need to love ourselves and accept where we are in order to withstand these storms and get where we need to go.
We may see some writers apparently reaching instant fame – but I bet you there’s nothing instant about it. For one thing, novels take a lot of time to write, edit and submit (unlike what they show on TV!) and most authors go through their share of rejections too before catching a break.
So that’s why I’m a bit wary of the ‘new year, new you’ stuff – because it offers a false picture of change and attainment, one which is based on a myth of immediate gratification and a painful sense of us not being enough as we are right now.
It’s okay to want more for ourselves, to want to develop our skills and talents and bring more joy into our lives – that’s my greatest wish for all my clients. But this ‘New Year, new you’ paradigm puts us at odds with who we are right now in a way which makes me uncomfortable.
Because to change anything, we need to accept what isn’t working first.
And that takes self-love – self-love to stand exactly where we are right now and see all its beauty and its cracks.
Only then can we move forward with a clear sense of where we want to go and who we are – and we are always our best resource when we want to make rain in our lives.
This is why self-love and acceptance are so important to our creativity – we can’t gather the strength to finish that project, to send out our work, to deal with rejection or even wholeheartedly embrace success if we’ve not made peace with who we are and where we are at.
If we don’t know who and where we are, we’ll get lost before we get where we need to go.
So my gentle challenge to you is to write down 20 things you already love about yourself and your writing right now, wherever you are in your life and creative process.
Then and only then can you write down three things you want for your writing and/or life this year. I know you probably want more than that, but think of three wins which would make the most difference to you and focus on those (the amazing Danielle La Porte taught me that!)
We come at change from a place of hope if we do this – not a place of self-criticism and desperation.
I hope (there’s that word again!) you find this all helpful in cherishing yourself and your lives and considering where you want to take yourself and your creativity during this coming year.
I’m wishing you could see you as yours loved ones do – as talented and brave and all out rockin’.
Because as my dear granddad used to say, ‘If you can look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and know you did okay, then that’s everything.’
If you’re interested in working with me on making some real and long-lasting creative and/or personal change, my prices are a whopping third off until January 31st! Registration for my ‘A Book in a Year’ VIP Experience is still open too and you can get a massive £500 off if you jump onboard this month (and you can also pay in installments)!
I’m also offering a totally free 30 minute ‘Writing Breakthrough’ coaching session, so you can book here to talk to me about your work and any creative shifts you’d like to see in 2017.