It was quite a strange feeling, as I held in my hands the (un)finished manuscript and stood contemplating the previous five months; I wondered if this was indeed the height of it, and as I tried to step outside of myself and survey my level of contentment after the fact, I was hard pushed to convince myself that it was all worth the effort and sacrifice.
I wasn’t sure then, and I’m still not sure; I guess time will tell.
Much has changed from the moment I picked up the pen, and began forging a narrative from the seed of an idea that came to me in the shower one faithful morning last October; I find myself in a vastly different space physically, mentally, and spiritually, and although I can’t say for sure whether the place in which I find myself now is better, it’s certainly different. Time will tell on that front too, I suppose.
But, I digress.
The paper was still warm when the woman behind the counter handed it back to me, and I began to flick through it playfully; hot off the press, I think they say in the newspaper industry? It was awfully misleading to look down at the seemingly pristine and blemish-free piece of art, while I knew in my heart that it was most certainly full of flaws. I fought to give myself credit in that very moment, for creating something from nothing, and I struggled to bring myself to show appreciation for the journey.
The fight wages on, against the inner-critic, and his fellow conspirator, the ego. How those two have brought me to my knees in recent months; as much as I try to counter with awareness in the moment, appreciation for the journey, and self-compassion along the path, the reality is that I am but a meagre slave to the saboteurs within.
Where does this leave me? I’m not quite sure, to be honest. I do know, that the path I am currently on has been forged with the burning embers of my inner flame; it is this very realisation that drives me ever forward in the direction of positive growth, that in the battle within, there can be no match for passion.
I simply can’t not write.
After having spent three solid weeks in a drawer, the manuscript found its way back onto my desk, and as I read through it for the very first time, my suspicions of a grossly imperfect piece of work were confirmed. It was beautiful, though.
Such an incredibly surreal experience it was. Often I found myself reading back over parts of the story, posing the question to myself, Did I actually write this? If I did, I had absolutely no recollection of it.
You could say that, while immersed in that mystical state of flow, connected to an energy source independent of my being, that I didn’t actually write it. That I was merely a channel. That would do the process a disservice though, because it does take an incredible amount of effort and perseverance to keep showing up to the desk.
She exists, of that I am certain, but she must find you working.
When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight.
– Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
After a couple of read throughs and quite a few edits, and having wrestled myself free of the saboteur’s grip for a brief moment, I decided to take the plunge and approach an agent in the pursuit of getting published.
It’s scary, and exhilarating, and completely and utterly humbling. I hope someone, somewhere, gets to read it someday. Well, at least the ego does.
The inner-critic? He doesn’t seem to think it will happen any time soon. It’s irrelevant though, because I will continue to fuel the fire within regardless, and do what nourishes my soul.
I will continue to turn up to the desk.