Last week I sent a survey out to my subscribers and clients, soliciting their feedback in order to learn how I can best help my audience members to live their own creative lives.
Included in the survey was a list of challenges that can get in the way of living the life of your dreams.
On a scale of 1 (“Not an issue for me”) to 5 (“YES! I could TOTALLY use help with this!”), fully half of those who have responded so far rated “I don’t have enough white space in my day” as either 4 (29%) or 5 (21%).
That’s half of my audience (at least of those who took the time to respond) who find the lack of “white space” as either a challenge, or a really big challenge.
I can totally relate.
Creating White Space
BTW, this question was not by any means the one on my survey with the most 4 and 5 ratings. Other higher scorers were the following:
- I want to find my creative voice — 53% (4=24%, 5=29%)
- I want to develop a consistent practice — 60% (4=26%, 5=34%)
- I’m just generally holding back and playing small — 66% (4=37%, 5=29%)
- I have too many interests! — 55% (4=26%, 5=29%)
and the grand winner:
- I just need some accountability to get myself doing and creating! — 69% (4=37%, 5=32%)
I’m working right now on an offer to help with that last one, btw, which I’ll roll out for my subscribers in the next few weeks. If they snap up the available openings, I may never open it up to the wider public. So if that interests you and you’re not already a subscriber, sign yourself up right now using the form at the top right of this page.
And if you are already a subscriber but you haven’t filled out the survey yet, check your inbox for the email with the link to do so (or email me if you can’t find it, and I’ll be happy to send it again.)
But back to the problem of white space.
This is a particular challenge in my own life. As a Passion Pluralite, and one with “Achiever” in my top 5 Strengthsfinder 2.0 strengths, the fact is I’m hard-wired to always want to be doing something, pursuing mastery, and juggling a lot of balls.
John T. Unger once tweeted something about juggling so many balls that he couldn’t see the sky. It was a great visual, one that has stuck with me (and also led me to believe we were separated at birth).
The thing is, I’ve come to realize that I like juggling a lot of balls. Just not always quite as many as I’ve usually got in the air.
I dream of days with wider margins, but creating those margins is an ongoing challenge for me. Just as nature abhors a vacuum and will always seek to fill it, apparently I abhor a vacuum in my day.
Or at least part of me does — the part that keeps adding balls to those already flying around overhead.
As I endeavor to follow the Way of the Peaceful Entrepreneur, I’m on the lookout for what I can take off of my plate to make space for all the stuff I really, really want. Yet so much of what’s on my plate already is stuff I really, really want!
And yet I just seem to keep piling it on…
What’s a Passion Pluralite to do?
This Passion Pluralite learned long ago a Truth of Truths for anyone with a bazillion Blisses that they want, oh-so-eagerly to follow:
You really can do everything you want, just not all at the same time.
This hit me especially hard this week, as I realized that my #12in12 commitment for February, to write a minimum of 750 words/day on my Book-Like Project*, was, in fact, preventing me from doing some of the other Really Important writing I’m committed to.
(Overly detailed note: In reality, my daily word-count has averaged around 1200 words, but I’m keeping the official commitment to 750 so I’m more assured of feeling successful!)
*(“Book-Like Project,” btw, is what I’ve taken to calling it, instead of “my book,” in an attempt to shut up my Inner Critic, who was incessantly snapping at me that I’m not up to the task of writing a book, that I’ll fail, and who am I to even think I could take on such an audacious project, anyway? It seems to be helping. A “Book-Like Project” is much less audacious-sounding than a “Book,” and the term is confusing my Inner Critic just enough that it makes her a bit dizzy (she’s a grey-haired, pinch-lipped senior citizen, and newfangled stuff tends to bamboozle her), and she toddles off to Starbucks for a latte. This is good.)
Much as I wanted (want!) to write daily on my Book-Like Project, it was keeping me from other stuff I also want:
Like my blog posts (which, yes, I could publish less frequently, but I’ve just got so damn much I want to say!)
And the guest posts I’ve committed to doing for other blogs.
And the eBook, which I’ve been in the final editing stages of for way too long now, and simply must finish!
This week, I was reminded of the Passion Pluralite’s Truth of Truths (see above), and took a hard look at my writing commitments.
What if, I asked myself, I shifted my expectations to the side, just a tad? What if, instead of adding “write 750+ words/day on my Book-Like Project” to my already overfilled daily plate, I allowed myself to count ANY AND ALL of my “writing for (eventual) publication” toward my daily goal?
What, I asked myself, might that allow me to do? If I spent, say, 3-4 days a week on blog posts (both of the personal and guest variety), and 3-4 days a week on the eBook (first, and then once that’s done, on the Book-Like Project)?
Here are some of the answers:
- I could finish the damn eBook this week (editing the eBook counts toward the daily commitment, even if it’s spending time editing rather than cranking out 750-1300 words worth of “virgin sentences”)
- I could start to build up a backlog of posts for Living A Creative Life, so I’m not always scrambling to write one at the last minute (which is, I confess, the usual way these posts get written…)
- I could write all those guest posts in advance, too
- I could still work on the Book-Like Project (just not quite as quickly as I want)
Can you say “Major upping of peacefulness quotient”?
Major upping of peacefulness quotient!
Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I’m literally still swooning from the instantaneous decrease in my stress level when I imagined a life with ONE daily word-count standard, instead of several.
Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! [Deep, eyes-closed sigh.]
True, the Book-Like Project will have to wait to get the level of attention I’d like to devote to it. But you know what? I’m okay with that.
I still get to do everything I want. Just not all at the same time.
Life is good.
What about you? Is there something you could shift, a whole lot or just a tad, to up your own peacefulness quotient? Tell us about it in the comments below.
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!