The past three weeks I have been working through Marcia Weider's "Successful Dreamer Course." In week two she talked about clearing your clutter. Clutter is "holding on to stuff that you started, but did not complete." This is no foreign concept to me. I have been there before. (See my blog series "The Magic of Stuff.")
However, Marcia's coaching has brought me to a new crossroads. In her program she says, "if you have been forever talking about writing your best seller, but never doing it, my coaching to you is to do it, or dump it!"
Why is this a crossroads for me?
I am thinking of dumping my dream to publish my novel, and my dream to record and album of my songs: - to clear my clutter.
The thing is, these projects are already complete. I have written my novel. In fact, I have written three novels, and I have written a whole album worth of songs. I have dozens more songs in various stages of progress. The trouble is not that I am unproductive. The trouble is the next steps.
I am forever getting to the next steps. I have shared my novels with maybe three people. I have screened my songs with one producer, and a songwriting coach who thinks my music will definitely get radio play. I have taken only a handful of songs to peer songwriters groups.
This falls far short of getting these dreams come true. Just writing them was half the work. Marketing them, and enrolling the support I need to publish and record them is a whole mess of work in itself. Its work I seem to be taking forever getting around to.
Is that reason to dump them? I am currently trying to make new goals in my life, or revalue the old ones in support of the newer ones, and Marcia says "nothing kills integrity like not keeping your agreements with yourself, or with others."
Having already spent so much time and effort on these dreams, makes them more valuable to complete than ever before. To make these dreams really come true I need to go the extra steps. Otherwise, I get nothing more than the satisfaction of having created art. It is the giving up right at the final stages of dream.
The truth is, these are still works-in-progress, but sometimes life gets in the way.
My foundation is weak. Periodically, I struggle to make a living that can sustain me. Too often, I have to put my creative projects back up on the shelf just so I can focus on bringing in money enough to feed myself and put a roof over my head. My car breaks down and needs repairs. Job contracts fall through and it takes extra time to find new work, or else I get so wrapped up in working that there is no time left at the end of the day to focus on moving the creative projects.
Getting back on my feet after a fall is always tough, and I have done it a thousand times. Through all of it, doing art really helped my spirit. It was a great reason to take on these projects.
However, I am in a time when I have have to reevaluate these old projects, as I have been planning to enrol producers for my music for so long now that I am not really sure I am ever going to get around to it. I am not sure I am ever going to get to doing the interviews I need to, in order to learn how to navigate the publishing business and get my book out there.
Right now I need cash. I need food. I need to fix my car. I need new clothes. I need to be able to enjoy a taste of living beyond the bare necessities, to be able to have savings, and to start planning to buy a house. But right now I need help just staying on top of my life's basic needs, and these projects-in-progress are a reminder of how tough it is to get ahead in life. It is painful to watch them grow stale on the shelves, and painful too as a reminder that I broke my agreements with myself.
What say you, dear reader? Should I dump these projects?