July 11, 2012

ambition vs. actuality

When I looked ahead to our road trip this past weekend, I was very ambitious. The main goal was to spend time with Grandpa, but in the moments in between, I looked forward to spending lots of time writing. Writing in the car, writing in nature, writing in our hotel room in the morning and late at night, and maybe even finding a coffee shop somewhere, to sit and spend a few hours writing there. An hour into our drive, I remembered my ambitions, pulled out my journal to write, filling a few pages. But that was the last time I opened my journal until the morning after we got back. 

I grow so discouraged when I sit back and compare my ambition to actuality. It was not for lack of time, or lack of opportunity that I did not write more. There were a million reasons, but none of them are really good reasons at all. This is a regular pitfall for me creatively. I berate myself for my lack of willpower. I consider the time I have lost. I think back on what I could or should have done differently. I am harder on myself than anyone else could be, I think. And from this perspective, I move ahead in my creative journey from a place of negativity instead of positivity.

As I came back to my writing that next morning, I mostly felt discouraged. But I am trying to challenge myself to be more accepting and nurturing towards my creative actualities, not just my ambitions. There is a list of creative affirmations in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, which I have posted on my wall to remind me to be gentle with myself in my creative practice. Creative Affirmation #3 is: "As I create and listen, I will be led."

I may not have spent much time writing on my trip, but I spent a lot of time creating in other ways: dreaming and thinking and taking pictures, and discussing creative thoughts and ideas with Ryan. And maybe this trip was about listening, too? As I think about my trip, maybe I can choose to listen to all that I experienced. So much joy and inspiration came in other forms than pen and paper. Here are some of the moments that inspired me:

I am still filled with ambition to find more ways, more time, and more chances to write. I still aspire to be more disciplined, to better exercise my willpower and write SO MUCH MORE! But I am grateful for this lesson in listening. I have a chance to accept my actualities and practice my belief that they will lead me exactly where I am meant to be. "As I create and listen, I will be led."

Do you measure your ambition vs. actuality? Do you grow discouraged, like I do? How do you bounce back and stay motivated? 


  1. Cayt, I too have the same problem. I am the type of person who needs to plan out every last detail and I give the planning so much of my attention and time that I rarely finish anything on my list of to do's. I read Writing Down the Bones recently and instead of writing while I read I planned to write once I finished it. I've been finished for a few days and no writing has started. It's not that I wasn't inspired by the book, I was just the oppposite. But, when it comes to to do's I plan first and then sadly never follow through. "As I create and listen, I will be led," love this quote, thank you!

  2. I am SO glad to hear that I am not the only one!! ;) Thank you for sharing, and for being so honest. I always feel like once I face my lack of movement (and my 'analysis paralysis'), I am so much closer to action. I hope that today (or soon!) you will find a way to take that action of pen to paper too! Remember: anything can be tossed out once it is written down. The value lies not in the quality but in giving yourself the gift of quantity. I wish you well!!