There's always experiments to do when it comes to refining your art and your work in the world and what you want to work on next, but when you have a blog, it can feel like it's a choice between posting regularly and feeling a bit burnt out because of it, or taking frequent breaks and feeling a sense of guilt for not writing consistently. Especially after learning that many book agents want your social media following to be quite large in order to bode well for a marketing campaign. It can feel like you are making the choice between much needed personal rest and professional sabotage. What's the way forward?
Regardless, I do know that I want and need to spend some quality time thinking about what projects I take on and why; I want to really examine where my creative energies go. I am really missing acting this fall and would love to get to an audition soon. I also know that this means I will need to assess what pieces of the puzzle will need to shift in order to make this possible. Do I blog less? Stop guest blogging? Take a break from my search for agents for my book? What do I need to say "no" to for now so that I can say "yes" to acting?
This fall, I feel like the winds are starting to shift and though it's tough to not know what that means for me creatively yet, I am trying to do my best to set aside time to tune in and listen. To discover and dream about what might be next on my theatrical horizon. I'm trying to clear some time. Take walks. More quiet. Reflecting on movies and music that move me. Bike rides. Reading books that might help me learn more about the process of figuring out what a new season might be.
In the spirit of needing to shift your life a bit to focus in on what you most want at this moment, I wanted to share an essay from my book titled "Saying YES! Is Only Possible After Saying NO!" Can anyone else relate?
We seem to have an obsession with “YES!” To us, “YES!” means we are open, we are curious, we are willing to take risks. “NO!” gets a bad reputation. We often think of a NO!” as meaning that we are closed off, bored, or cowardly. I believe we get this very, very wrong.
Saying “NO!” is not always rejecting something. Often times for me, it means I am protecting something else. A project I am working on, a relationship that is special to me, another opportunity that I cannot afford to not be focused on.
The more I’ve said “YES!” to just anything that comes my way, the more my attention is divided. It’s like baking a pie and then serving 100 pieces. Each piece is going to be thin, it’s going to crumble when you lift it out of the pan, and as for people being satisfied with one 100th of a piece of pie? Forget about it. Eating that little pie is worse than eating no pie at all.
That’s how I feel when I say “YES!” to too many things. Stretched thin. Doing all the things, but not enjoying any of the things. Figure out the two or three (or even one!) projects that you care about RIGHT NOW and then commit to those projects. Show them you are serious by saying “NO!” to other projects that come along that don’t support your commitments.
It should also be said that you have the right to say “NO!” to a project or offer or opportunity even if you have nothing else lined up. Why? Because it’s your right. Think of yourself cultivating your creativity like a garden. You don’t have to plant the first thing you come across. In fact, you are perfectly allowed to have an empty patch of earth for as long as you want, until something truly fascinating and fun and worthy presents itself. Realize that for every "NO!" you say, you are clearing more room for other opportunities, ones you can't even imagine right now. Each "NO!" actually becomes a “YES!”for something else.
What that “YES!” leads to? You may just have to say “NO!” to find out.