An Intentional Life: Written {A Bigger Picture Moment}

Living life with intention isn’t always easy. Sure, with a little practice and desire, you can be intentional about the big things. Big plans, big actions. It’s the little moments that get hard – because you’re distracted, and they’re small, so do they really matter? But eventually all the little moments begin to tot up and you have to wonder if too many little pieces, fine enough by themselves, are together creating a picture you wouldn’t necessarily choose. I always appreciate these weekly Bigger Picture Moments, for they are a call and a reminder to take a step back and ask myself whether the momentary is really in line with what I want for the momentous.

And this week, I realize I haven’t been approaching my writing with much intention lately. Since I finished writing the draft of my novel, it’s been harder to get immersed in my writing. (Editing is a very different kind of beast.) I write almost every day: blog posts, more blog posts, timed writings, presentations, emails, and comments, and notes in the margins. Almost every day I’m creating something. But I find I’ve had too many days…too many weeks!…where I’ve just shoved my writing into the crooks and crevices between point A and point B.

That’s good – to an extent. I’m writing, even when it’s hard and I have to eke the words onto the page, like tears when you’re too defeated to cry. But it has been too long since I really engaged with my own words or since I tried to see if I have something to say other than just something.

So this Saturday, I’m taking a writer’s retreat. I’m shutting off the computer, logging off from the internet, and unplugging to go play with words. I’ll bounce around from cafe to park to home, wherever I need to be to say welcome to Miss Muse. I’m officially inviting her on a date.

Do I have chores to do? Yes. Things on the to-do list? Of course. Deadlines approaching? Yeah…don’t remind me. Because this is at least as important as that, and I know I’ll regret it if I relegate myself to writing only in the cracks.

Right then. Tally ho!

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.” 
- Author Unknown

What moments stole your breath away this week? 

Each Thursday, we come together to celebrate living life with intention by capturing a glimmer of the bigger picture through a simple moment. Have you found yourself in such a moment lately? Share it with us! 

Live. Capture. Share. Encourage.
This week we’re linking up at Sarah’s!
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8 thoughts on “An Intentional Life: Written {A Bigger Picture Moment}

  1. It is a wise woman who recognizes when she is just going through the motions and actively does something about it….not just in writing, but in life as well.

  2. Is the momentary really in line with what I want for the momenteous? This question is headed to the top of a page in my journal…for some heart searching and pondering. I'll think about you on Saturday ~ enjoy your date!

  3. How did you get to be so wise, Miss Jade? I adore the idea of taking my muse on a date. It just sounds as intimidating as asking a human on a date….I'm kind of scared to go write. Because what if I can't do it? What if I get stuck and too bogged down in it to get anywhere? Or what if I'm just no GOOD at it?

    All this to say, I think I need to face my fears. I think I need to jump off the edge of this doubt, and…write.

    I have thousands of words written on something already. It's time to do more. I just need to make the decision.

    I hope your Saturday is FULL of muse, and I hope your Sunday is FULL of rejoicing!

    • Aww, thanks Sarah! Yeah, inviting Miss Muse on a date is as nerve wracking as asking a human – there's always a fear she won't show up.

      But that fear is not so bad when you think through the scenario. Do you mind if I share some tough love? That's always what works best for me. Firstly, I believe the only failure in art (dare I even say, in life?) is not trying. What if you get stuck and can't write? You'll stare at the page for a few minutes and feel like a fraud (like every other writer on the planet, even the egotistical ones – maybe especially the egotistical ones), but if you force yourself to sit there, eventually some thought will come along. It may not be a remarkable thought, but if you follow it, it might lead you to a thought that is worth keeping. A thought you might never have had if you hadn't given it this chance.

      Along these lines, sometimes, if you're stalled for ideas, it helps to take a more indirect approach. I remember one time in yoga, I was sitting with the soles of my feet pressed against each other and working towards a forward bend (a hip-opening exercise). I was trying to stretch my inner thighs enough to bend forward far enough to touch my forehead to the ground. I wasn't quite making it, so my yoga instructor recommended moving my upper body around in circles a few times first before doing the forward bend. I did what she suggested, and that time it worked! And I learned that sometimes the best way to a destination is the circuitous route.

      If I'm stalled for larger ideas, I think about what themes in life or in what I like to read tend to be important to me (redemption is a big one), or what experiences in my life have been transformative, or what things I really wish I could say (sometimes even to a particular person) if only I dared to say it. If I'm stalled for smaller ideas, like how to start the next scene in a chapter, sometimes I do word association games. I figure out what I want it to really be about, and then I do a free word association game, writing out a whole list of words that come to mind and when I run out, I pull out 2-3 words, find a way to connect them, and go from there. There are tons of ways you can do this. The key is just play around and not feel like you always have to take the most direct approach to getting anywhere.

      The bigger thing is I think you need to give yourself permission to write badly. Absolutely horrifically bad. It's a draft or a journal. No one but you has to see it. Everyone writes horrible first drafts. First drafts are for dreaming. They're for putting your heart on the page and not caring what it looks like. It's editing where you take something cringe-worthy and make it passable. Think some more on it, play with some words, read other authors, and then take something that was passable to actually quite remarkable. Then take it to an outside reader you trust, and make it even better. Repeat until satisfied. Do NOT edit as you write. That's a sure-fire way to kill your creative spark. Save the critic and the censor for the editing process. That's where you come in like a surgeon and clean things up and save the poor dear's life.

      And don't feel like you have to go about it alone! There are tons of resources out there for helping writers get through all kinds of different slumps. If you feel like sharing with me where you've gotten stuck, I'll be happy to point out any resources I've found useful in the past, if I can.

      And here's the unconditional love part: you write gorgeously, Sarah. I'm sure you're being much harder on yourself than anyone else would be. Your writing is real, and passionate, clear, and lyrical. Have faith in it, and in yourself. Don't let any nasty little writer's block get in your way. Just trust that, eventually, if you keep trying you'll break through that block, and it'll be so worth it. Shove away doubt and take that leap. I believe in you. I'll be rooting for you the entire way!

  4. You are smart as a writer to recognize this need, but you are wise to act on it. I hope this weekend you have a wonderful word date.