Flaming Out and Rising High

writers don't be afraid to start over

Just because you stopped writing doesn’t mean the story is over, every failure is just another opportunity.

Our passions are the true phoenixes; when the old one is burnt out, a new one rises from its ashes.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Let’s be honest…starting over …again and again… can be exhausting. Every failure adds another layer of muck to our rose-colored outlook, making it harder to see if we’re headed in the right direction or falling off (yet another) cliff.

So why keep trying? Why not just throw in the towel and move on? It’s a tricky business, this letting go. How do you know when it’s time to dig in your heels and when you’d be better off just raising the white flag?

Perhaps the first step involves accepting failure as part of the game. I warn you right now; whatever new project or adventure you’re contemplating, you will hit snags and run into roadblocks. You’ll take a half step forward before falling three steps back. Progress will feel incremental to the point of stagnation.

But you’ll keep going.

There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting.

Those of us who’ve managed to make it to adulthood with even the tiniest creative spark can never completely shut out that little voice that whispers, “Try…try again…try once more.” When you have that imaginative spirit inside you, the urge to write, paint, design or find expression in any medium is a powerful force that cannot be ignored.

Of course, we’ve all lived through moments where that voice gets muted, when the whisper fades to the very back of our subconscious. Those dark times when we convince ourselves we’re making the right choice and begin to think we’re voluntarily ditching our artistic ambitions in favor of something better. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that the daily monotony of life is reality…is adult…is the valid option.

It’s not, but you know that…otherwise, you wouldn’t even be reading this blog.

You don’t need a new day to start over, you only need a new mindset.
Hazel Hira Ozbek

I’m a great champion of ritual and ceremony. I believe in exalting tiny anniversaries and celebrating all achievements great and small. Though I’m a severely lapsed Catholic, I’ve never been able to give up the church’s often-sumptuous rites and customs. In truth, I look for any excuse to pop a cork, make a toast and throw a party.

It just so happens that today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent – a 46-day period of fasting, repenting and (temporarily) abandoning your worst vices. Last year I tried to give up worrying for Lent…I lasted about three days. This year I’m going to attempt to trick my guardian angel by giving up procrastination. I will ditch the deferment, eliminate postponement and embrace action and productivity.

For the next 40 or so days (Lent ends Easter Sunday), I pledge to show back up to the page, here in this blog and in my morning pages and other creative projects. I’ll do this despite the fear of failure because there will never be a perfect moment to begin again. You can only start now and cross your fingers this time you’ll make it just a little bit closer to your goals.

“Today is the day for being,” writes Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance. “Be with those you love, be kind to yourself. Be quiet and call forth the dream you buried long ago.”

“The ember is still glowing in your soul.”

Cover Photo by Lettr˘ via Flickr

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