When Life Throws You a Curveball

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(Hey! You can listen to this entire newsletter here!)

Hey Creative Entrepreneur!

Well, this isn’t an announcement I was figuring I’d make.

It’s been an interesting few weeks since last we spoke.

The excitement came on a Friday afternoon when my dear husband entered my office saying, “I think you need to drive me to Willmar.” (Willmar is the next small town down the road, the one with the regional hospital.)

“Sure,” I said, “just let me finish what I’m doing.”

“I think we should go now.”

So, off we went. Little did I know I wouldn’t finish my project any time soon. Nor would I resume anything that resembled a “regular” day for quite some time.

Things like that happen when your husband experiences his second heart attack…

I share all the details in today’s podcast. Check it out here:

Beth 🙂

P.S. I hope you enjoy today’s feature article! I included this particular excerpt in honor of my husband’s heart attack. It’s sobering (and liberating) to realize how little control we have over our lives. As a creative entrepreneur, I hope you will find today’s message comforting and useful as you navigate your own challenges. Enjoy!

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When positive thinking, affirmations, and plowing through resistance doesn’t dissolve your creative block, perhaps it’s time to try something new…

“Creative blocks don’t exist.” “Change your attitude.” “Just blast through your block.” I heard it all; every trite band aid solution to my very complex, creative block.

Truth was, a life changing medical challenge didn’t fill me with inspiration. It wasn’t a positive transformative experience, either.

Instead, I found myself navigating a crazy maze of emotions and head scratching moments. With each new blow, with every new reality, I realized I had a tangle of issues to unwind before I could resume my creative life. Perhaps you’re in the same boat.

If you’ve found yourself with a dream, a higher goal, but just can’t get started… this book’s for you. It’s for every dreamer, aspirerer, gentle soul who wants to achieve their life purpose, but can’t seem to get on the path.

Each short chapter contains a bit of my personal story, applications to your situation, as well as prompts to help you untangle your inability to get moving. You’ll also receive a unique set of tools in the Bonus Tool Chest in the final section. You can also download the official “Stuck” meditation.

My hope is that STUCK will give you everything you need to venture forth and create the life you know you were born to lead.

Check it out here.

Thanks!

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When Life Throws You a Curve Ball
An Excerpt from Stuck: Transforming Everything You Think You Know About Creative Blocks

That’s the thing with creative blocks. My first, insurmountable block formed when I realized how little control I had over my own body. It blew my mind to consider that despite my healthy lifestyle, I could get felled by such a grave diagnosis (cancer). I perused my family tree and realized that I… the family “health freak…” was probably going to kick the bucket long before some of my couch potato relatives who smoked, drank, enjoyed processed foods; people who did little to nothing (in my then-haughty opinion) to maintain their health.

That one realization threw me for a loop. Sadly, that particular loop would trip me for quite a while.

I thought a healthy lifestyle would reduce my chances of receiving a cancer diagnosis… certainly a colon cancer diagnosis. At least that’s what many of my uber-healthy peers claimed. Boy, was I wrong. I was a health nut. Bonafide. Certified. Upon hearing my diagnosis, every single family member said, “You’ve got to be kidding. If you can get cancer, anybody can.”

My ever-grounded son put the whole situation into perspective when he said, “Man plans. God laughs.”

I’m hardly what you would call a Type A personality, but I evidently put too much stock in my ability to control events. I knew how to run book launches. I knew how to write. I knew how to publish. You follow a formula, you get predictable results.

Sometimes. But not always.

And there’s the rub.

Realizing life can turn on its heel in one crystalline moment is sobering. Yet, it’s reality. While we humans seem to like “plans” and “formulas,” reality rarely cooperates.

In the months following my cancer diagnosis, after weeks of copious narcotic consumption (turns out a huge abdominal surgery plus a fair amount of digestive reconstruction creates a bit of pain), I awoke to find a reality far different than the one I left behind.

Many of my readers had moved on. I could no longer write… words apparently evacuated my mind… so my output plummeted. I wound up in the emergency room more often than I hoped. Continual cancer checks kept me off kilter.

I barely kept my publishing house open.

I kept waiting to achieve a modicum of control over something… anything, but it never happened. I felt like I was at the mercy of a tumor that had apparently been removed from my body but left a black stain on my mindset. Instead of resuming life, I found myself living a low-grade nightmare, waiting to find out if this monster would return, waiting to return to a healthy state, waiting for one, brief, painless moment.

The first year after a cancer diagnosis is rough. It’s one long unexpected event after another. The only constant in life is uncertainty. And I wasn’t sure I liked this new development.

* * *

When you ponder the birth of your inability to create, examine the situation to ferret out any illusions of control. It’s sobering to realize that despite your best efforts, life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect.

Is that good? Bad? Indifferent?

It’s hard to say.

In the beginning, I would have classified the situation as “dire.” “Terrible.” “Exceedingly bad.” But looking back, I’m pretty sure those labels aren’t only dramatic, they’re incorrect.

The situation was basically neutral. Yeah, the cancer was bad. But they caught it early. That was good. Losing a chunk of my readership. Bad. Getting the option to rebuild in a smarter, more soul fulfilling way? That’s good.

Quantifying situations as either good or bad is an exercise in futility because it doesn’t change reality. What’s easier is to simply accept what is, forget trying to rank it on a scale of awesomeness, and move along.

But that can be easier said than done.

Now, let’s think about your situation.

Action Plan:

1. Why aren’t you creating what you know you were born to create? Have you pinpointed the birth of your block yet?

2. Are you unable to grapple with the uncertainty of life? (I know I couldn’t.) What do you need to do to accept reality rather than label each situation as “good” or “bad?”

3. What can you do to embrace the unexpected?

4. What do you need to do to accept change without judgment?

Takeaway: Ponder your block’s birth without judgment, frustration, or anger. Just think about it as an objective outsider. What secrets does it whisper?

Note: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I wrote a whole book on this topic. You can check it out here.

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You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, market smart, repeat. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers, and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

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