Why can’t I get more writing done?…Nothing I write is any good.

I had my novel published, so what, now I have to prove I can keep producing.

As a writer, do you ever feel like you are never satisfied? Are you always discontented?

If you are, you are not alone. Most writers and creative types are known for being perfectionistic, self-critical, and often in a state of guilt for not doing more.

In our isolated world of writing, it is easy to have conversations where we beat ourselves up for not being better writers. We are a highly sensitive bunch and  hear many voices in our head. The discontented voices can become loud. They are always there, just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

This week, I was reading posts on a website that combines creativity with healing.  It is called The Art of Mind: Exploring The Art of Creativity and Healing, by Lisa A. Riley, MA, MFT. I want to share one of her posts that resonated for me called, The Gift of Divine Discontent. Lisa begins her post by saying,

We all suffer to some degree of a chronic, low-grade discontent. So, we seek out the next goal to achieve, a new relationship, a new job, perhaps the next rush of adrenaline or the next “something else” that will bring fulfillment to our lives. The very thing we need to rid us of this unceasing desire and bring contentment. We even chant to ourselves a silent mantra, “When I get there, I can relax, enjoy life and then I will be happy.” Yet when we get there or obtain the object of our desire it only seems to temporarily quiet the hungry voice and before we know it, the gnawing starts up again.

In our eyes, such a recurring yearn can easily be interpreted as a deficiency in our life or lack in our character that needs to be remedied. When we interpret feelings of dissatisfaction in a negative light and succumb to the urgency for instant gratification, we are often left with an even greater longing for the next thing.

She states that our interpretation of these feelings may lead us to think that we are experiencing lack or deficiency. If we do, we conclude that we need to be “fixed” to feel whole.  This experience is so common in our culture and is the accepted way to function. “I feel lack, so it must be corrected and filled, NOW!”

How does this feeling of deficiency affect our writing and creative life?

We are driven by our need to create, which is also related to our need to feel whole. We assume logically, if we feel a lack, then we must not be trying hard enough. This initiates the cycle of self deprecation. At this point, we are in danger of  giving up, under-performing or experiencing depression.

What can we do about our perfectionism, a critical mind,  self-deprecation,  and feelings of chronic deficiency without losing our drive or entering depression?

First of all, change begins with a shift of perspective. Realize that these feelings of deficiency are part of who we are, of being human. They are part of the intuitions deep inside of us.  These feelings create the energy that drives us to create and evolve. Lisa Riley also states,

Experiencing the Divine Discontent is part of being human and even a natural quality of being an artist. It can drive us to push through moments of creative block and seek out innovative ideas. That said, let us embrace and welcome the presence of our Divine Discontent and let it become a muse that is channeled towards developing a productive artful life.

If feelings of discontent are part of who you are, then you are now challenged to accept and embrace more of yourself.

The next step is to take some of those disowned pieces of malcontent and lovingly put them back into place. If you watch your feelings of discontent and identify them when they arise, you will grow in awareness and self-acceptance. You can look at those thoughts and call them by name, “I see you, discontent, what do you want me to do today?” Have a discussion with your new friend, whom you thought was an enemy.

Discontent is there to serve you, not cut you to shreds.

Cultivating Gratitude

I love this quote on Lisa Riley’s post:

Discover your own discontent, and be grateful, for without divine discontent there would be no creative force.”– Deepak Chopra

This leads to my next suggestion as you begin the path of accepting your discontent. We have probably all read about the power of developing gratitude. Even Oprah keeps a gratitude journal. I am not just referring to the thankfulness that we feel when someone does a good deed for us or when we appreciate our blessings.  I am referring to a deeper sense of gratitude that sinks into our thoughts, emotions and down to the source of our being. It is a form of gratitude saturates everything we are and everything we do.

When we experience an emergency situation that threatens our life, the lives of loved ones, or a natural disaster killing thousands, you can feel that deep sense of gratitude for what you have. But that feeling slowly wanes and the voices of discontent return easily to drown out the gratitude. It is very easy to forget this state of gratitude in our culture and in our creative lives.

Our sense of deficiency is one of the blinders that block gratitude.  And, if we sink deeply into gratitude, deficiency automatically disappears.

What if you could cultivate this sense of gratitude as a regular companion on your creative path? Would you feel any different?

Many of the self-help gurus will tell you today that gratitude will create abundance in your life. The problem is that they promise wealth and health in every area of life including the physical plane, which distracts from the true intention of gratitude. Gratitude is given freely and openly as a devotion, a meditation, and a way of living without expecting anything in return. The mere existence of gratitude in your life is the greatest gift we can receive and give.

The emotions that arise when you are in a state of gratitude eminent from the source of life and are filled with love. My guess is that anyone who cultivates a healthy dose of gratitude will feel better and more energized. And, creativity will become alive and animated in their lives. Give it a try, keep a journal that reminds you what you are grateful for in your life, and actively meditate with the energy of gratitude.

Here is a video-poem entitled, Gratitude is

Here is another video for your enjoyment – I always feel gratitude when I hear it – What A Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong. I like this video because of the cute animal pictures.

Friday Check-In

Hello #writerlbsOff folks and everyone else stopping by for a visit.  I hope you are doing well and keeping your resolutions in sight. As time goes by, it is easy to fall back into old habits. We get so busy, another “should” can feel like too much. But if you are aware of your busy life and seek to do something small for yourself each day, then you are still on track for change.

Let’s chat about how we are doing this week. Write about how your week progressed or any thoughts you have about discontented thoughts and gratitude in the comments below or on Twitter.