The Reinvention of Me: Productivity, Permission, Affirmation

I don’t believe in muses. In any form. I’ve heard some people say that the muse is whatever inspires us. However you define the muse, I don’t have one or want one. She is a dangerous construct for me. If I let myself rely on a muse, I no longer have control over my creative processes. I refuse to relinquish that control.

This is how I understand sports, after a lot of searching to understand sports. You see, I’ve always considered sports as super arbitrary. What two teams accomplish at noon today is different from what they’d accomplish a couple hours later or a couple weeks later. The variables just seem too many for any single sports event to mean a whole lot.

Then Husband pointed out to me that sports isn’t that much different from writing (aside from the actual physical prowess, ability to control one’s appendages, and injuries). What I write now in this hour on this day is fundamentally different from the words I would write tomorrow on the same subject. The result would be largely the same to varying degrees of achievement, but the variables matter. Well, dang. Got me there.

I don’t think athletes have muses. They have skills, practice, coaches, and tools. I don’t think I have a muse. I have skills, practice, coaches, and tools. Both the athlete and I are in control and our outcomes accrue to various ends. But we never give up control. The muse doesn’t have to tell an athlete to perform and doesn’t have to tell me to write. I cannot wait on her to tell me anything. It’s a choice.

My productivity rests largely on my choices. Sure, other variables exist, but my choice is the key. I’m reinventing that productivity by giving myself permission to make an open choice and affirming my work product.

Permission. Ah, my Achilles heel. I’ve spent much of my creative life wanting permission to be creative. I wanted some external entity to say, “Amanda, here is your permission to write. And here is your permission to art. All the permissions!” Shockingly, no one ever said that to me.

I used to be a self-proclaimed affirmation hound. When I received graded school papers, I wanted red, lots of red, and words. Even if those words were critical. I enjoy affirmation on just about any positive act, viewpoint, or achievement. In the past when that affirmation failed to appear, I let myself recede into the void.

Nope. No more. I affirm myself now. I affirm my effort. I give myself permission to be who I am. I permit myself to create. I permit myself to explore. I permit myself to use whatever gifts I have to increase the good in the world, to feed my soul, to glorify my Creator, and to provide for my family. Words? Art? Law? Teaching? Yes, yes, yes, yes. Whatever it takes. However much work it requires. Regardless of what others say, think, permit, affirm, or deny.

I am newly productive. Newly permitted. Newly affirmed. And I’m so ready.


Reinvention of Me: Beggar

I like to pretend money is not a thing. I have sometimes not asked for payment because I thought that might be rude. I have accepted payment lower than I should have at times because I didn’t want the other party to think money was my primary motivation. I had problems charging people for legal work because it was something so necessary to those people.

This is all well and fine if one is independently wealthy. This one is not independently wealthy.

When the crossroads inevitably arise on the horizon, I hope and I pray and I want for a clear path to be, well, clear. I’m at one such crossroads now.

Amanda Palmer, a singer/writer/other, has written about the art of asking. She is not the first to highlight both the task of asking and the fruitfulness thereof.

It’s hard. And I want to think people will pay for my art and writing without my asking. I want to think if I work hard enough that people will notice and want more.

But I am at a crossroads.

After tomorrow, May 2nd, 2016, this website will go away if I don’t renew it. I thought I would be able to, but I’m not.

I can, of course, reopen a site that is free. But I’m tired. In this moment, I am tired of pushing into a dream that seems to stay as far away as ever. I’m tired of waiting to be a provider for my family. I’m tired of wanting this creative life so badly that I would risk so much.

My throat constricts and my eyes burn as I type this. Because I want to do it all on my own. And I cannot. No one can. And I never ever have.

So I’m setting aside my unworthiness and my guilt and my independence, and I am begging tonight.

I beg you to support this site and me if you find any value at all in its contents or my continued making of art. My Patreon site is the best conduit for your support, because you get stuff in return, like art and words, my two favorites.

Begging is unseemly. Most of my neurons are funneling me to the exit. But I am reinventing myself. And begging is merely asking. Asking is what we all need to do more. I tell my boys – actually, it’s a posted family rule: Ask for help. Instead of mentioning Patreon and saying my time is running out and hoping you understand and respond, I’m going to practice my own rule.

Lovers of the arts and creation, will you please help me? Will you please help me to transform my efforts into more art accessible to more people? Will you please help me to choose art over other vocations? Will you please help me?

Thank you. Regardless of your answer, thank you. I don’t always help my boys when they follow the rule. Sometimes, I know they will succeed without me. Tonight I question whether I will. I question how much longer I can hang onto my words and line, to my art.

None of this is your problem. And I don’t want it to be your problem. My job is to make and keep making. My task is to ask for help. Yours is to answer, however you may.

And, if I don’t see you before I’m gone – mad love to you all!

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