June 30, 2009

THE WAY OF THE WRITER: Intentionality, part 1

This post has two parts.

Intentionality, part 1, is about creative intentionality.

Intentionality, part 2, will be about practical intentionality.

They're both important, but different enough that it made sense to split them up. So I did.

Intentionality is the word that I've started using as I look at my current life-situation. I have to be intnentional about many things. Eating. Exercising. Spending special time with the kids.

And as a creative artist, I have to be intentional about how I spend my time in creative arts. As a full time freelance writer, I must be very careful about making sure I am bringing in money to support my family. This isn't entirely in my hands. Obviously, there are forces at work beyond my control (the economy, book sales, etc.).* But it falls to me.

Also, if I am going to grow as a creative, I must be using my time intentionally as well. Growth cannot and will not happen if the "muscles" used are not exercised regularly, and rigorously. A while ago, I made a joke handout for the people of my writer's group. it said:

Three steps to becoming a writer:

1. Write.
2. Read.
3. Write some more.
It's not a new sentiment. Neither is this:

There are two types of writers: those who want to be writers and those who write.
If you want to be a writer, you must write. You must put those skills to work.

Yes, this is obvious, but why is it so difficult? Some days (especially recently, when I found myself facing a "creative depression" -- it was the result of a number of different factors happening at the same time, and it just crushed me creatively) I just stare at the screen and try to do anything but write.

This is where intentionality comes in. Forcing myself to write. Setting a schedule. I'm not sure how this is going to work. Should I try to force a rigid schedule? Or do I allow it to be more of a loose guideline? I think it's going to take some work to figure out what kind of groove I need to be in.

But the bottom line is that it's going to take work. Anything worth doing takes work. My doctor told me that I need to be exercising about a 1/2 hour a day, and getting my heart rate up to about 140. I'm not going to get into all the details with that he and I talked about. But I spent the next two weeks just doing my regular 1/2 leisurely walk, thinking, "Hey, I already do this! Great!" I can't find my pulse, so I didn't bother with that. At the end of those two weeks, the day before my follow up appointment with my doctor, I bought a watch that can measure your heart rate. Found out that my heart rate on my usual walk barely went over 120. Turns out my leisurely walk was just plain too leisurely. To get my heart rate up to a calorie burning rate, I had to push myself.

But it's worth doing.

I feel bad that some of these life changes are happening when I'm 34. On the flip side, I'm glad they're happening . . .

So now . . . off to work.

~ Ben

No comments: