Last Fall, this website underwent massive surgery. The slate was blanked, all of the old content and links taken away. This was a rather drastic measure and I felt quite a lot of stress about it, but the absolute call was there to erase. Start Fresh.
I documented my progress in The Blank Slate series, but didn’t feel like there was any satisfactory conclusion. This was frustrating, because what I was hoping for was some kind of big epiphany that would arrive on deadline (December 1, 2011) and then I would proceed with whatever guidance The Blank Slate delivered.
But that didn’t happen. I didn’t get the clarity I was seeking. I was more clear. But not enough clear to move forward. There certainly was no momentum to move forward. The ideas remained unbaked.
Which is exactly how the creative process works.
Meanwhile, during December and January, I busied myself with the very large task of editing and purging my life and belongings so that I could move myself to Mexico from the U.S.
Because I am a thrifty gal, I decided to combine my move to coincide with the workshop I teach in Mexico every year, which also happens to be the most intensive workshop, as it is a weeklong retreat.
Why go back and forth and spend all of that extra money on airfare? This was the rationale I laid out for myself as I now had two mega-projects to contend with. Preparing for and facilitating the Creative Entrepreneur Retreat in Mexico, while doing all the heavy lifting (unintended accurate metaphor) of Moving to Mexico. Which meant renting out my live/work space, packing up my stuff, deciding what to bring and what to purge or pack away.
Now, I’m writing to you from my kitchen table in Oaxaca (pictured above), where I’ve been adjusting to culture shock, high altitude, desert climate, and all that goes with moving to a foreign country with a very minimal command of the native language. Put another way: I’ve been dealing with a nasty case of burn-out for the last month.
And you know what? I’m actually really excited about that.
Excited about burn-out? Well, not so much. What I mean is that I am deeply interested in how we manage to do whatever it takes to put our creative work into the world, and to craft a life that is meaningful to us.
It’s that discovery of how we navigate from here (idea) to there (product or outcome) is what excites me. It’s the journey itself that I feel passionate about, much more than whatever I think the destination is going to be, or supposed to be. This is what creative process is, and it’s the number one subject that both excites and confounds me (in a good way) after all these years.
Creating isn’t easy. Doing the work of making something new scares the crap out of me, every single time. And yet, I need to do it. I need to do this crazy creative work the way I need to drop myself into unfamiliar territory. Fueled by curiosity, wanderlust, and other forces yet unknown to me, that compel me to pick up and and move to a foreign country. Again.
Right now, I’m sitting at the kitchen table typing this on my compact MacBook Air. There are these microscopic ants that keep biting me on the tender insides of forearms resting on the table. These ants are everywhere, including the crevices of my keyboard. The ants crawl onto my hands and I slap them away. I get all itchy and feel they are crawling all over my body. And that’s part of the package here in this current installment of living my creative dream.
Gradually winding my way back to the point of this post:
I’ve been sitting here for a couple of days with my head on fire with writing, (body on fire with ant bites) feeling the gushing flow of ideas and insights after so many weeks of so much foggy-headed burnout.
There is finally the clarity to move forward from The Blank Slate. The clarity arose from murky confusion. The way the sun just suddenly comes out after days and weeks of low ceiling fog in San Francisco.
Being a visual thinker, I mapped out the basic content for the website with post it notes and played with arranging them on the kitchen table. I like the backdrop of the Mexico oil cloth against the post-it notes.
I had originally mapped out the content in the way when I did The Blank Slate, and took photos of my post-it mind maps. But I didn’t bother to reference them. I wanted to start fresh, because the clarity of purpose in the new writing is what I wanted to capture. I might very well look at the content mapped out previously and find it is quite similar.
Soon, you’ll be seeing more changes to the site and the content that reflect the outline that is in the mind map. My purpose for writing (and for all that I make) is to be able to connect with others, like you, who are navigating your own creative process. Thanks for following along and participating with me on this journey. I can’t wait to see where it will take us.