Monday, May 12, 2008

Workshop Wisdom

Last of the spring tulips

Time for a new season. Time to move on up to another level. So how to shift?

The last post was about success. The excellent comments there could be a prelude to this entry. It was obvious that success means different things to different people at different times. In other words, what we perceive as success is always changing. So why worry about it? Why even bother to think/fuss/stew over success?

Well, we're human. But perhaps a better use for our energies would be to focus on shifting our internal world. Oh yeah, real easy, just change how we are. Uh-huh. Inside. Uh-huh. Change the subconscious traps that hold us down. Uh-huh.

There are ways. First, ask these questions:
1. What is your dream life?
2. What are you doing right now that helps create that dream life? (There will be something, no matter how small, even if it's only reading this blog, I promise.)
3. What's one more thing you could be doing? Give yourself permission to imagine big or small, practical or outrageous, or anything in-between. The operative word is doing. Be an active verb--even if the action is sitting down to work five minutes earlier.

Next post--shifting from the outside in.

Dear readers--what are your answers to the above questions? Do you have more than one?


Jim Murdoch said...

In dreams there are only finished products. Not so in real life. There is a great danger of romanticising. There have been a number of jobs that have been romanticised in the past – air hostess, actor, model, writer – but the nuts-and-bolts of each of these jobs are quite mundane.

I remember seeing an interview with Geoff Ryman who, at the time, had published four novels and still wasn't earning enough to give up his day job. He worked in the evenings and weekends clattering away at a laptop which sat on a little pokey desk in, if memory serves me right, the corner of his bedroom. It certainly wasn't glamorous. He never said but I'm sure his neck and shoulders hurt, probably his right wrist and lower back. I expect he experienced a disproportionate number of headaches, more than likely eye strain too. Yeah, writing's glamorous. It's like Philip Roth said – "My autobiography would consist almost entirely of chapters about me sitting alone in a room looking at a typewriter."

A dream is like a crush. I've had crushes on so many women in my life it's not true. And they can last a long time. It's when the crush wears off you realise if it's true love or not. Because true love is also not nearly as glamorous as they would have you believe either. I love writing but writing does not always love me back.

Conda Douglas said...

Yes, Jim--it is true that a dream life is a dream and not real--and hoo-boy, what you said about the writing life is too true. It's also true about other creative lives. I used to be a film editor. No, I didn't party with the stars. No glamor. I sat in front of an editing machine, editing the same footage, over and over.

Answering the first question hopefully gives the reader some ideas of how to be more effective, focused and energetic in creative endeavors. Not quitting your day job! But I've known too many folks who get a long ways down the path and then surrender--because it is hard, tedious and difficult.

Of course, my dream life is to sit at a computer and wearing braces on both wrists for the pain and write.

Swubird said...


You're so right. Success should be a verb. Along those lines, several years ago a friend of mine coined a word: Doit (Pronounced Do It!). If you're doing something, you're on the road to success. If you're sitting still, you'll either grow roots, or you'll get run over.

Great post, as usual.

Have a very nice day.

Conda Douglas said...

Yes, Swu! Your comments gave me a great chuckle--and are so right. Success as a verb--yes! And doit--that's why I mention doing even small--it's amazing how one tiny movement end inertia and sometimes create momentum.

And I, for one, don't want to become roadkill.

Dave King said...

The idea of success being a verb hits the nail on the head, I think. So often it is success that changes our idea of what constitutes success. It surprises us by coming in some unexpected guise. We should just try to be alert to recognise it when it comes.

Cornish Dreamer said...

These are very good questions to ask ourselves. In fact I decided to have a think about it and realised that I'm doing more than I thought towards my dreams.

I really like your active verb theory.


Conda Douglas said...

Yes, Dave, excellent point about paying attention to when success shows up and how it shows up. So many times we ignore it or dismiss it and then think we never succeed. For some reason this seems particularly common among creative people.

Conda Douglas said...

Thanks Rebecca, and isn't it amazing what you are doing if you just take a moment to think about it?

The Muse said...

Hi Conda! I have so many dreams. I try really hard to do a little everyday to work towards those dreams.

Focus is the most important thing for me. Keeping focused has helped me to achieve many things I would not have otherwise.

Setting daily goals is another big step.

And, as I mentioned previously, visualizing it. If you can see it, you can be it! I just had to say that. Kudos to whoever said it first.

One more thing I could be doing that I'm not, I don't know. I think I'm doing all that I can right now for where I'm going. Perhaps actually completeing a project I've been working up, then putting it out there. That would be a good thing.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Conda Douglas said...

Thanks Muse for those interesting comments--I agree with you that visualization helps. In fact my next post is about a form of visualizing.