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On Making Space & Intuition

Making space

Over the last month, I’ve been brainstorming what my next big project should be. And in all honesty, I’ve been slightly aimless. I’m still doing my normal work related tasks — like preparing for my summer photography course and writing essays — but I’ve felt off. I’m not surprised I’ve felt this way, though. “My Morning View” was released in mid-March and typically I feel lost and goalless after I complete a large project.

In “Still Writing” Dani Shapiro sums up this feeling perfectly. She said, “When I’m between books, I feel as if I will never have another story to tell. The last book has wiped me out, has taken everything from me, everything I understand and feel and know and remember, and . . . that’s it. There’s nothing left. A low-level depression sets in. The world hides its gifts from me. It has taken me years to realize that this feeling, the one of the well being empty, is as it should be. It means I’ve spent everything. And so I must begin again.”

Shapiro’s words were affirming. Over the last month, I’ve thought about writing a memoir, an e-course on resiliency, and working part-time this summer. I’m incredibly grateful that I have the option to be still, to think, and to brainstorm. For me, this is part of the creative process. Yet, this part of the process isn’t easy because I can get in my own way. Doubts start emerging when I’m in-between big projects. I start feeling like an impostor; that I’m not a “real” writer and photographer. And, I worry that my small business will fail.

If I was giving advice to a friend, I would tell her that it’s normal to worry. But, she shouldn’t let those worries deter her. That she should follow her intuition, make space for her next project, and to believe in herself. It’s okay to rest, recharge, and to trust the creative process.

Be well,
Tammy

Note: This post was originally shared with “My Morning Viewemail list.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Becs :: Think Big Live Simply June 4, 2014, 3:16 pm

    The gaps in-between are often the most uncomfortable places to be hey – I love your advice to your ‘friend’, permission to rest is sometimes hard to accept!

    • Tammy Strobel June 5, 2014, 7:55 am

      Indeed! I’m learning to embrace it. 🙂

  • Sandra Pawula June 4, 2014, 4:24 pm

    Your last paragraph is beautiful advice to anyone who is meeting this challenge of losing confidence and faith when they are between creative projects. Thank you, Tammy!

  • Jonathan June 4, 2014, 6:27 pm

    Shapiro has it right. I work in a job that is very…project-based. When I end a project, I feel the same way as you and Shapiro – a bit empty and depressed. This used to bother me. Now, I’ve realized that the downtime is great to recharge my energy and creativity. I use the time to check off some items on my list that I’ve not gotten to because of being so sunk into a project. Usually, that ‘checking off’ somehow manages to roll into my next project! Embrace the downtime – it’ll turn out ok!

    • Tammy Strobel June 5, 2014, 7:54 am

      So true, Jonathan! I’ve been using the downtime to work on my garden and take long walks; both activities have given me space to think and brainstorm. I’m grateful.

  • Alysha June 4, 2014, 6:57 pm

    Tammy, I cannot thank you enough for sharing so candidly. You are such an inspiration to me and many others. Although I am still in the preliminary stages of what I am doing, it helps to know you experience similar feelings yet are still so successful. I’m hoping and praying you find direction for your next big project. Thanks for everything!

    • Tammy Strobel June 5, 2014, 7:52 am

      Thank you Alysha! I appreciate your sweet comment. I hope you are doing well. xo.

  • Madeline June 5, 2014, 10:20 am

    Tammy, thanks for your post. If you want to get started on your memoir, I recommend Writing from Life: Telling your Soul’s Story (and subtitled “A journey of self-discovery for women”). This book, by Susan Wittig Albert, is not new (1996) but it’s still good. Albert helps women to tell their life stories through writing 8 chapters with lots of prompts and examples (and it is not chronological; rather it’s thematic). I am finding it so very helpful and therapeutic and hard (that’s good!).

    Best,
    Madeline

    • Tammy Strobel June 5, 2014, 10:41 am

      Thanks for the tip Madeline! I appreciate it. 🙂

  • Jenn Kliese June 5, 2014, 6:21 pm

    I felt similarly after i finished an art show this April. I’ve really been allowing myself to sink deep into that lost feeling and use it as an opportunity to continue to walk into the unknown with my work. I’ve been experimenting with new materials and techniques without any expectations on myself. I’m leaning into the discomfort when i feel like i don’t know what i am doing. Also reading Rebecca Solnit’s book “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” as inspiration. The time for growth is rich when feeling completely spent. Congrats on the book!

  • Ann June 6, 2014, 2:04 am

    Great post!
    I can really relate to this.
    For me, one of the best ways to deal with the feeling of emptiness and insecurity after a finished project is to still keep working, without a clear goal. I also go on really long walks.

    Can’t wait to see your new project – I’m sure it’s gonna be great!

    All the best 🙂

  • Diane June 11, 2014, 4:47 pm

    I just started reading a book by former news anchor Jane Pauley, and in it, she talks about how she often felt like an imposter when being a news anchor. I guess everyone has self-doubts, even people who look like they have everything totally on track.

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