Faith seeking understanding #056: On needing a good kick in the butt

Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash.

Well, I was feeling pretty full of myself as I sauntered into my therapist’s office today. When he asked, I told him that I was doing very well. When he asked me why I was doing very well, I told him that I had had a very creative day; I had spent most of the day obsessing in a good way over an old project which had suddenly piqued my interest. I was going through pages and pages of synopses and treatments for the script of a graphic novel that I have no idea how I am going to get illustrated. But I was having a good time playing around with old ideas, revamping and adding new ones and generally being pleased at my own cleverness.

Then my therapist asked me how my novel was going.

And I suddenly felt very sheepish.

“I’m stuck,” I admitted. And I was. And had been for weeks. Stuck at 70,000 words, half of which need to be cut and the difference to be made up to 100,000 somehow. He asked me if I had a deadline for getting it finished, so I fudged and made up an arbitrary date: the end of June. I figured that would give me enough time to get out of my slump, somehow. I had no idea how this was going to happen, but I figured if I hoped long enough, I would magically be drawn back to finishing the work I had put so much of my life into. But the good doctor could see right through me and told me what I didn’t want to hear—and needed to: I had been working on this novel enough years and I needed to finish it. I needed to finish something. Specifically, I needed to finish this novel.

Gently—well, not that gently—the doctor suggested that a lot of what was bothering me about being able to call myself a writer might suddenly get fixed if I just completed something, rather than scattering my creative impulses like buckshot, hoping that by luck I might hit something. No, my therapist was suggesting that I pick a goal, one goal, the goal that was staring me in the face, the one he has had to hear all about for so many hours, and aim for it. To get it done. Sooner rather than later. And so I agreed.

But that wasn’t good enough for him. I had promised to focus on the novel before, and he knew I had no plan. So we created one. First, I am to print out what I have written of the manuscript, a little bit at a time, but enough so that I can finish reading all 350 pages within the next two weeks (before my next appointment) with the goal of writing the rest of what I had to write by the end of May, using the next eight sessions as benchmarks.

My butt was thoroughly kicked. And it was the best thing for me.

Now I set my sights on not only being creative, but productive. And not only creative and productive, but finished. Thank God I have someone to keep me honest. Much as I’ve needed all of you to keep me honest—and productive—with these daily reflections, I hadn’t realized the extent to which I needed someone keeping my feet to the fire for a project that will help me take a giant leap forward towards fully inhabiting the role I aspire to: writer.

Wish me luck. And, more than luck, wish me more kicks in the butt.

Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at joncarllewis@gmail.com.
May God richly bless you on your journey.

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Faith seeking understanding #056: On needing a good kick in the butt

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