Moderating my passion always felt like something particularly dreadful to me. Soul deadening even.
Is it still passion if it’s moderate?
And then, I actually put my passion into action on a daily basis. Of course, it felt great, enlivening. But what became rapidly clear is that sustainability is also important. And to be sustainable, well, I need to moderate myself sometimes.
Take right now for example, it’s my second week of writing like a motherfudger (still playing with the idea of swear words which don’t degrade sex, or mothers).
And I LOVE it. But it’s also taking me a LOT of time.
So much so, that it’s difficult for me to do some other things. Things I know from experience, and from how it feels bad in my body not to do them things like : self-care, family quality time, my beloved hobbies.
My system needs tweaking if I can't keep those in my life.
I’m currently experimenting with how it feels to write several hours a day. Between my 100 days project, my 30 days of Kleon mini challenge that helps me explore more of my creativity and the goal of sustainably post on Instagram everyday, the hours are clocked in. No problem.
But I haven’t painted in days, and I can feel it’s starting to affect my creativity, I’m slowly getting sluggish.
Last week, I did a fraction of my usual self-care and no house care whatsoever. It made me cranky, sad, and frustrated. I was also exhausted.
Getting slowly back to it feels really good, and helps me keep clocking the writing hours without driving myself insane or depressed.
I know from experience that, even if writing makes me very happy in itself, only writing all day long won’t make me happy.
I need to learn to nourish my reflection.
I need to read to slow down my brain and get inspired.
I need to paint to give a break to my rational mind and let myself play.
I need to live in a house that doesn’t feel disgusting (even if it will always be messy… Artists house anyone?).
And finally, despite the fact that my 30 days of Kleon is fueling my writing in an amazing way, making me feel like I’m finding that sweet spot between teaching and story telling I’ve been looking for for a couple of years, I need to pace myself.
I’ve written 2 very long texts I really love this week. If I want to keep writing like this regularly, I both know from experience and from my gut, that I need to also write smaller texts like this one, and calling it done when I hit the 500 words mark.
I technically could go on for hours more lately, but you know what?
I used to write for 6-8 hours straight sometimes. It was a time when I didn’t write everyday at all. What would happen, is that I would get a surge of inspiration, write like a possessed person from midnight to 6-8am. Go to sleep exhausted. Get back up, and not having the energy at all to finish it. Or to edit it. Or procrastinate for ages to publish it, until I didn’t want to anymore.
And I was SO sad. Those cycles (overwriting then giving up, discouraged) made me feel like my writing didn’t have any value. That all my hard work was for nothing. It fueled me with shame so many times.
And then last year, I was writing everyday, like this year, but wanted to write a complete article everyday, something with some kind of structure, that people could apply. And again, it felt great at the time. Until it was too much. And I needed first 2 days to finish one. At the end of this 100 days project, I would sometimes take 5 days to finish one text, that I wasn’t really happy with anyway. Again, I ended up very discouraged.
Both of those periods made writing very disappointing.
So this year, I decided firmly : I will finish one text per day. I will not force myself to make it look like anything. I’m writing intuitively, and stop regularly at the 500 words mark, unless I REALLY want to go on AND I haven’t many things on my plate already.
Overdoing is also a way of sabotaging ourselves : we do too much, until we can't do what we settled to do.
If I want to write twice on the same topic, I’ll do it in several parts, so it’s not an excuse to not publish daily.
My writing is getting so much better that way. And more importantly : my writing practice is getting infinitely more enjoyable.
Now that this joy is here, I want to keep it the best I can, even if I already experienced it won’t be here everyday. Cultivating (not achieving) it is crucial here.
And sometimes, that means moderating my passion so I can go on, even if I feel frustrated and am afraid to ‘lose it’, no matter what the ‘it’ is. Ideas, inspiration, motivation…
I’m also reminded of Hemingway here.
“Learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it. I always worked until I had something done, and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day.” — Ernest Hemmingway
People who create everyday knows very much what that means.
To me, it’s also about trusting ourselves.
Because you know what? I never lost an idea that I put down on paper somewhere. Even if I don’t write about it right away. On the contrary, some ideas mature and evolve in a way that I’m always delighted with. That’s one of my favourite take away of this vintage of my 100 days project.
And sure, it brought a lot of frustration. I can feel lately more and more my need to publish in a way that is more structured and visible, and I want to do it NOW on EVERYTHING. But this is not what daily writing is for.
So I made a contract with my inner writer this very morning : each week, I’ll choose to work on one of my favourite texts, edit it, polish it and publish it on Medium rather than on my blog.
WHEN I’m finished with my 30 days of Kleon challenge and will get to my current goal, so I post less on Instagram.
Making sure I’m not asking too much from myself, but also keeping making my dreams happen.
That, my dear hummingbird, is why I’m okay and even happy to moderate my passion now : because I can keep going the distance instead of burning myself out into artist/writer/creative block. I hope that might help you too find meaning and joy in moderating your own passion.