Ever falter and lose your momentum right before the finish line on a project or when preparing for something big? Lord how I hate when I do this!
Sustaining momentum: honestly, it always felt a little boring to me. Pedestrian.
What I loved was bolting out of the gate, getting all lathered up, ticking a bunch of stuff off the list… look at me go! How amazing!
But then, somewhere along the line, I’d wind down… get foggy… now what exactly am I doing???
I got tired of petering out. I wanted to learn to sustain the love.
What I learned (am learning) is the only way to sustain the love is to choose love in the first place.
You can’t sustain momentum over the long haul unless you declare, “I want this. I want this with all my being.”
That kind of declaration? Terrifying. Cue possible failure, going down the wrong rabbit hole for a few years (decades), public humiliation, _____ (insert your fear here).
Why would we do that?
Oh and you don’t just declare your love once. Ha! You have to declare it – find it, own it with all your being – every time you want to jump up and run the hell away.
Today, for me, that looked like rocking back and forth in my chair while working on my novel, hand on my heart, muttering, “I can do this. I will do this.” Total commitment to staying with my story no matter how blank I felt.
Sustaining momentum also requires lashing yourself to the mast — aka focus. You can’t want everything you want all at once (how I hate this truism!). You have to choose. When you are working on your big love, you have to say to the other ideas that come calling, “Thanks for showing up. Not now.” (You can quick make a note of the idea but if that invites more and more ideas to come yammering to the door, stop. Lash yourself to the mast of this one desire.)
Sustaining momentum also means giving up the fantasy of how you would like to create and facing into how you actually do create. For example, I would adore to work like Ken Wilber who basically does nothing but work when he is writing a book (this may not be true anymore given his health issues). It pours out of him, and owns him. I love that fantasy!
I. on the other hand, am a plodder. I get little explosions of Wilber-like intensity, but mine last more like…an hour. I’m slow, easily distracted, living my life, loving my Bob and raising my girl, paying the bills, walking the dogs. Every time I fantasize that this time I will work like Ken Wilber or Stephen King or _______ (insert your fantasy here), I step away from my rhythm and get all lathered up…you know where that ends.
Finally, you can not discount play and rest. Susannah, Marianne and I have been working on this delightful creative joy book (free next Friday! I will send you the link) and the theme that’s emerged (from all the cool contributors) is play without agenda. Often! So if you find yourself grimly marching toward your goal, pry your fingers off the keyboard or the canvas or the spread sheet and get thee to a Frisbee or river or come take my doodle dogs to the woods.
How do you sustain your momentum? As always, I delight in learning from you. Now back to the novel!