If you take a look at my archives (don’t you do that on a regular basis?) you will note that there is a big drop off in my posting frequency starting in June. I mean 6 entries in August? 3 in September? 3 in October (so far)? What the heck? Did I run out of things to say? Hardly.
It was June 7 (ah-ha, the first slow posting month) when @mattsingley posted a quote on Twitter that came through my feed.
I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.– Brian Tracy
It was the “show up more often” part that gave me a *PING* moment. And I decided to give it a try.
Because I had an epiphany:
I like hiding. I use my family, my distance from the city, my introversion, lack of money, non-professional artist status, as my default reasons for not showing up. And sometimes those are legitimate reasons, particularly my family. But lots of times, these are excuses. Because often the truth is I don’t show up because of the great unknown of what ifs–what if I don’t know anybody, what if no one wants to talk to me, what if I can’t think of anything interesting to say, what if the cool kids won’t let me sit with them, what if my idea isn’t good enough, and a thousand and one variations on the what if theme.
So that’s what I’ve been doing since then…showing up more often. Being afraid. Having my excuses and showing up anyway. Recognizing that my right people are there if I would allow myself to be there too. Letting myself step outside of “Here I am again, in the place of stuck that I always come back to.” I’ve had many a negotiation with myself. “Just go for five minutes, just say hello, just say thank-you, just pop your head in, just stick your hand out, just pick up the pen. That’s all I’m asking of myself, and then I can go back to something cosy.”
Sometimes, I’ve really only done that bare minimum and I pat myself on the back for doing that. And other times, I’ve gone way past the bare minimum with no further negotiations required. I’ve been going places I might have found a reason not to go to. I’ve been talking to people that I might not have talked to. I’ve fessed up out loud to having ideas. I’ve been showing up in my studio instead of the computer. And as the quote predicts, lucky things have been happening. It’s been like…well…magic. Suddenly I can see I’m in a different place relative to my dreams. Instead of spending my energy pining after what I don’t have, I can spend my energy thinking of next steps.
I’ve been establising an offline presence in the words of the always mildly brilliant Ken Roberts.
And part of showing up other places was showing up here less.
I also decided it was time to declutter my online world. My Google Reader was becoming a huge burden. I’d subscribed to so many wonderful, funny, thoughtful, well written blogs that I was spending far too much of my free time just reading other people’s stuff and never getting to my own.
So, in a surprisingly painful exercise, I deep-breathed my way through unsubscribing to fully half the blogs I was subscribed to. Half.
Would you like to know what I kept?
Of course, my family, friends, and any blog that’s been kind enough to link back to me.
Havi of The Fluent Self because she’s changing my life with every posting. She’s woo-woo without the ‘ew.’
Ken Roberts of Mildly Creative because his creative ideas and rhthym synch up marvellously with my own.
The Woman Who Talked Too Much — Marie Phillips. Because damn she’s a good writer, and I love her total commitment to her obsessions be it David Tennant, the guy who heads up The Choir, or Strictly Dancing.
Okay, Fine, Dammit. Because oh my goodness can this woman write. The images, the lyrical turns of phrase, the startling insight woven into her prose, which is more like poetry. Just. Beautiful.
Pearl, Why You Little. Because I have a huge crush on Pearl’s writing. She delights me.
Dilbert. Because the Scott Adams brain is a weird and wonderful place to peer into.
Dream Garden Coaching. My accountability coach.
and a couple of others that have kind of gone silent, but I’m still hoping for a resurrection.
It’s been SO freeing. Now, I follow people on Twitter to test drive them and occasionally check out what’s going on on their blog, but I don’t feel obligated to read EVERY SINGLE WORD published on the internet everyday. I go days without even opening up my Google Reader…or tweeting…or updating my Facebook status…and apparently without posting anything here.
But at least now you know why.
The power of showing up, in person, in real time — don’t underestimate it. Even if it’s showing up in your studio, or at your lap desk.
Be afraid, show up anyway, and see what happens.
I’ll keep you posted. Sporadically anyway.