The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you.~Robert Louis Stevenson
I bent to tie my shoelaces, fingers stiff with cold. I had forced myself to go outside on the blustery, winter afternoon. I didn't hold out much hope that this walk in the frigid air would restore my motivation. For the past few weeks, I'd felt dulled regarding continuing to write, my love for the practice diluted. "Why bother?" I asked. I knew the answer already. "Because you love words. Because you love beauty. Because you enjoy encouraging others not to give up on their artistic pursuits. Because you know that the process of creating things brings healing and joy." I had grown fatigued and lonely, though. When I get lonely and tired along the artist's trail, I go back to nourishing locations where I know I'll find encouragement. I went back to Julia Cameron. All her works have inspired me, but I return again and again to her Artist's Way trilogy. This time I opened up the third book in the series: Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance.
The first page I turned to, I read a sentence I'd previously underlined. It took courage to allow myself to pursue something that I loved. Tears leaked from the corners of my eyes. The validation of that sentence felt like God's kiss on my cheek. It can feel easy to quit. I kept reading.
The following material I've plucked from the first chapter, Uncovering A Sense of Optimism. These reminders fueled increased motivation...maybe they will for you too.
As a writer, I have learned that good writing and good moods do not necessarily go together. On some of my worst days, the best work emerges. I try to love the process that I am in.
Many days, I simply place myself in front of the computer (today being one of them) and say to myself: "God, I showed up. Please make something with me."
I must write. I must walk. I must pray. I must content myself with small amounts of progress. Above all, I must not binge on drama and despair...I strive for a sense of optimism, a feeling that as small as I am what I am doing still matters in the scheme of things. For me, keeping things simple and pacing myself helps immensely. I can write one page. I can walk one block.
Like the crocus, the artist does not pause to ask if her work is timely or welcome. Critical reception will perhaps be chilly like an unseasonal snow but, like the crocus, the artist survives. For me, survival can evolve into satisfaction, because I have chosen not to quit.
I neared the end of my walk. I had ventured into a new part of town. I walked onto a boardwalk that allowed me a better view of the marsh. The chilly wind gusted, yet the sky arced deep blue overhead and reflected in the tidal waters. It was as if an artist had dipped her brush in paint and added a few drops of rich blue color to the marsh waters, and now the creek flowed like streams of gentian.