Friday, November 16, 2012

How To Never Give Up (Except When You Just Give Up)

Below by Rowena Murillo

acrylic on paper.  
30/100 in 100 days creative project

I give up.

Except I don't.

I have made the decision that nanowrimo is not right for me this year. I'm not going to try to write a 500k word first draft of a novel (good or bad) in the month of November for the first time in seven years. It doesn't mean I am giving up, it just means I am giving up on this.

Because what I need to do in a time like this, a time of transition and responsibility and to do lists that are miles long and feeling like I am underwater, is refocus my goals, not to the short term commitments, or the ones I think I "should" do, but to the serious who-I-really-am-and-what-I-really-want-to-do-with-my-life goals.

Sorry nanowrimo, but rather than writing a new novel that I don't really have a plan for and don't really care that much about and which is not really ready to be written, I have a novel (from nanowrimo 2009) that needs a final rewrite and also needs to go out looking for an agent. 

So I give up on nanowrimo 2012.

But giving up does not mean you give up. 

This is what I'm learning about never giving up, believe me, it isn't easy.

Stand by Rowena Murillo

acrylic and graphite on paper
5.5"x 8.5"
29/100 in 100

Life doesn't always care what your intentions and goals and dreams are. Things go wrong. Other things become more important. You don't get where you thought you would get. People say no. Failure happens. You try and try and try and do everything right and you get nowhere. You mess up and make poor decisions and don't always do the right thing and are imperfect and generally human. Your hopes and expectations are dashed.

This is the point where you can decide to give up. Period.

Maybe that's okay. Maybe it's not the end of the world if you give up on your past dreams and let go of where you thought you'd be and just make peace with who and where you are. Maybe you've grown out of your dreams and find other things more important. Maybe you're holding onto those dreams just because you've always defined yourself by those dreams. Let me tell you, you are actually more than your dreams. And you can always find new dreams. You can refocus and discover new goals and passions. There's nothing wrong with that, because there are a kajillion worthy dreams out there and a bazookillion wasy to reach those dreams. 

So give up. I give you permission. If giving up is what you decide is right for you.

Mom by Rowena Murillo

graphite on paper
31/100 in 100

If, however, you decide that giving up is just not right for you, if your dreams are too integral to your happiness and you just can't bear to let go of them, then let's figure out this not giving up thing.

So okay, it's been hard. 

Things haven't worked out the way you thought they might. Life took over. You feel your dreams slipping away. And, dammit, you are not going to let them go without a fight. What do you do? What do you do?

Figure out where you are right now. What is working? What is not working? Where are you putting your energy? What is feeding your energy and filling you up? What is draining your energy? What do you need? 

What are the absolute, non negotiable necessities in your life? Make sure you have them.

What are the priorities? What has to come first, no matter what? Put them first.

What fills you with joy? What recharges your batteries? Make room for that. You might have to give up other things in order to do so. Think about what is non essential in your life, or things which are destructive even. You can let go of those, even if it's a habit and hard to let go of.

What drains you or weakens you? Either get rid of that or find a way to fix it. (warning: this might take an investment of time, energy and/or money.) 

This is about evaluating your life for what is working for you and what is not working for you. This is about re-evaluating your dreams and goals and needs and the path that you are on.
Incandescent by Rowena Murillo

acrylic on paper
5.5"x 8.5"
32/100 in 100

You need to figure out what are the things that fill you up, the things that give purpose to your life, the things that keep coming back to you, no matter how many detours in life you take. Figure out those things. Make them part of your priorities.

 I'm going to be honest.

I do not speak about giving up and not giving up lightly. This is hard work. It is hard to let go of things you were holding onto. And it is hard work to recommit and dig in and make those dreams work, too. But either way, it's worth it

For me, I've decided that I can give up on the exercise of nanowrimo. But I am not giving up on my writing. I am refocusing on my current novel, I am refocusing on my blogging and other non fiction writing. I am also committing to finish my 100 in 100 days creative project, even though I am a month behind. I'll be posting some artwork heavy blog posts, for a while, as I catch up on 100 days project, both posting things I've already done but not documented and new work.

I'm kind of excited to get back to painting, because for me, painting helps me focus and be creative... and this is what I want to be doing.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...