Struggle, Joy and Change

A funny outcome of the way I've drafted and published since I started the Free Refills project three years ago is that I often can't remember what I drafted to completion, what I drafted but never saw to the end, and bits that exist only as ideas. And I can never remember what ideas got published and what didn't.

That I furthermore have tended to zero-draft in a space of immediacy has tended to mean that important themes from my zero drafts get forgotten when I move on to other things. It's actually kind of funny.

Like for this piece right here, I find myself thinking, "Did I actually publish that thing about how my patterns are those of a sad person, or did I draft that idea but decide for some reason that I didn't want to publish it, or did I only think about drafting it but then forget about it?"

I did a little searching while I was drafting and I found two pieces that relate to this question. This one is essentially the first paragraph of this piece. This one tells me that I started drafting, but never saw the concept all the way through.

It's funny to be almost three years into this project and realize that there are huge amounts of low-hanging fruit still available to me to improve my process, the goals and procedures, ways that I might focus my concentration to do more substantive work, and ways (like what I played with this week) to hang on to the publishing practice while having vastly more fun, more play, and more time, offering more pleasure for readers (I imagine), and a far better understanding of how to make my writing actually support my career goals.

This whole thing about struggle and play remains fascinating to me. That for all my talk about ease and the way we can overcome our patterned need to struggle, I have chosen, again and again, to continue to struggle with my writing. I'd like to think that I'm capable of doing better than that, that I'm capable of choosing joy-- surely I have the writer's chops to pull it off--but instead it is easier to just do what I've always done, which is to find some way that writing can be a struggle. (For me, because I'm deep enough into zero-draft technique, it's rarely the initial drafting, but it certainly exists in revisions and, especially, publishing--just scroll back from here to see how many pieces this year have been about the challenges I'm finding with my publishing practice.)

What it amounts to--and to fully explore this will take probably multiple chapters in the first or second book I'm writing with Jerry--is that for some reason, I am subconsciously choosing to create this drama in my life. The most obvious reason, of course, is that by continuing to do what I've always done, I can keep myself from moving forward.

I mean, if you really think about it, when you decide to break out of a self-limiting pattern, you are in essence deciding to kill off part of your ego that, irrespective of its flaws, has helped keep you alive to this point. And when faced with change into a new way of being, we don't have any experience to go on. The old way has kept us alive, the proof being that we are alive. The new way may not work out that way. Thus the essential fear of change hinges on, "If I do this, I might die."

But I'm really pretty sure that having fun with my writing will not be fatal.

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