Finding Peace as a Content Creator

shannonhugman

Balancing acceptance and ambition.

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I’m a textbook overachiever. If you ask me to do ten pushups, I’ll do 20. My ambition has always been on overdrive, which has consistently led me to burn out.

I work as an astrologer. Patterns and self-awareness is a big part of what I do. I’ve noticed my tendency to have high expectations, and how it leads to exhaustion. I am committed to transforming this pattern and stepping into a more laid back, accepting approach towards life.

I was making progress. I had transformed certain aspects of my business and organized my life to be less stressful: then, I become a content creator.

Success Is A Mirage

As soon as I discovered writing platforms like, News Break, I was obsessed. I love writing and social media. To find this sweet spot between the two excited me. But it also got me overly ambitious.

Now I had all sorts of new goals to tempt me.

The pressure was on. I told myself all I needed was to be curated. Once I hit that goal, I decided I’d feel better once I got more followers. As I grew my following, I still wasn’t feeling relaxed.

Like a mirage, success continued to allude me.

Have you ever achieved a goal, only to replace it with another one?

Have you ever felt the drive to achieve steals joy from the present moment?

How Do I Feel Right Now?

I caught myself falling into this old pattern, and I asked, “how do I feel right now? The answer was stressed, jealous, and uneasy. Instead of pumping out just one more article, or dealing with these feelings later, I asked what my body needed right now.

The answer was rest and some water.

I began acting on my needs, rather than being pulled by the lure of my ambition. I spent a week just listening to myself and not trying to accomplish anything in my writer’s career.

One day, I sat looking out the window, watching the sun caress my garden for 2 hours. I felt incredible joy.

I spent an entire afternoon laying in a hammock just watching the leaves move through the trees. It was amazing.

My old self would have thought that this was a waste of time because I could not produce anything in those moments of stillness.

However, my new self loved it. When I checked back in and asked, “how do I feel?” the answer was calm, still, and content.

Are we identifying with results or appreciating the process?

From this place of peace, I started writing again. It was no longer about hitting a milestone or being curated. I was writing because I love to write.

In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write? -Rainer Maria Rilke

When I look deep into my heart and ask myself this question, the answer is yes.

The process of writing is now my motivation.

In the past, I was writing for validation and attention.

I now write because the act of sitting down and capturing my thoughts is a gift I give myself. Writing is a form of self care. If my article resonates with others, if the book sells or makes some money, that’s all a bonus.

Being Hallow Bamboo

I recently read the book “Tantra” by Osho.

In it, he describes being like hollow bamboo.

…feel like a hollow bamboo — and suddenly infinite energy starts pouring within you, you are filled with the unknown, with the mysterious, with the divine. A hollow bamboo becomes a flute and the divine starts playing it. -Osho

I write best when I embody that space and let the words flow. My work as an astrologer has always been about allowing the insights to spill out. I’ve never had to think about it or work hard to find the words. It’s been an intuitive knowing since day one.

When I write fiction, it feels like the characters are unveiling themselves to me. I am not making it up; I am letting them share their story through me.

My best work happens when I let myself be hollow. When I move away from all that identify as success, I can let the words and expressions flow. I now understand that the results will come when the process is aligned.

If I work hard to push myself and worry about views, likes or accepted pitches, then I am just left stressed out. Instead when I remember the reason why I write, then I can relax and appreciate my craft. This is way more fun than feeling stressed.

Success As A Writer

There are tons of articles about how to succeed as a writer. I’ve read many of them over the last two months, and I would be lying if I said they did not help me. I would also be lying if I said they did not stress me out.

The theories and strategies all made sense, and they gave me an understanding of various platforms, but I wasn’t able to implement many of these methods.

These articles led me to strive for a particular success metric, which pulled me out of my natural writing flow.

I still read the articles, but my priority is how my writing process feels. If it feels off, I work to resolve this disconnect before moving forward.

Starting my career as a writer has felt like a masterclass in keeping my overambitious self in check. I’ve learned once again the importance of observing my patterns.

There’s no magic formula to balance acceptance and ambition. As I become more self-aware and act on what I have learned, I seem to become more balanced.

Once again, I have learned the importance of observing myself and my feelings. By taking time to slow down, I feel ready for the long run in my writing career.

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