Recently I've been building my author platform – reaching out to new people, beefing up my social media presence, updating my website, and creating bridges to invite more people in. However, when I focus on marketing it inevitably turns to all the other things I could be doing. I begin to think, I should be doing this! and this! and this! Feeling I’m losing the race, my throat tightens, and my creative flow shrinks to a trickle.
My most inspired writing has come during periods when I detached from the real world: a trip to southern Italy where we knew no one, for example, or the pandemic lockdown when society dissolved temporarily.
Most of us need to market our work. We cannot simply remove ourselves from the stresses and temptations of society and devote our days to courting the muse. Acclaimed writers from Charles Dickens to Walt Whitman all had to devise ways to promote and sell their work. Sharing our art is part of the creative process.
So how do we transmute the more-more-more energy that tends to permeate the marketplace and return to the joy of creation? Thanks to teachers and mentors in my life, here is what I’ve been experimenting with:
Exit the race. When I find myself spiraling into a breathless state of not-enough and too-little-time, I drop what I’m doing and take a break. Pushing through is not helpful, because any decisions taken from an anxious state will not be enlightened. I focus on something else, change the scene, do something pleasureful.
Bathe in the good. Second, I pay attention to all that is positive in my life. Instead of focusing on all the undone things on my list, I bask in all the things I did do. When I luxuriate in all that is going well — relationships that are running smoothly, interactions that are easy, groups that are supportive — a feeling of abundance and warmth begins to fill the space inside.
Repeat. As I go through my day, I will have to keep redirecting myself, returning to what is beautiful and good and healthy. Right now I am sitting on my porch behind a cherry tree that seems to be expressing gratitude for the sun, its branches reaching out and upward, its leaves clear as water. Beyond, a creamy blue sky rolls out, protecting me from the cold black gravity-less space, keeping me safe, hugging me close.
Because the mind wants to linger on worrisome thoughts and potential threats, keeping me in fight-or flight mode, sometimes it will take an evening or a whole weekend of flooding my system with positive feelings or pleasureful activities to turn my energy around.
Then, when the impulse to work returns, a feeling of ease and flow permeates my being and my orientation to the world. And life feels fun and light again.