Follow Your Heart

Tonight I'm thinking about how hard it's been to keep producing fresh content for this blog. Sometimes it takes me a few hours just to put ideas together. My flow starts with a quick sketch outline, write, and then I edit. I'm paragraph dyslexic because I write what should go last, first, and what should go first, last, and so I spend additional time rearranging paragraphs so they make sense.

Once I've done that, I spend time looking for the right image to go with my post. I try to find a quote or something that I can embed into the image so that readers can walk away with a reminder of what I wrote about that day. Sometimes I think they're good, other times I could do better.

So, that's basically my process. When I wasn't doing this challenge, I could take my time with ideas, let them marinate awhile until they became ripe and ready to go. The incubation period made the writing easier and it flowed more naturally.

But writing everyday is a whole 'nother beast. Instead of letting ideas percolate slowly, the ripe ideas usually come from the theme of the day. Ever think of your days as 'themed'? It turns out that when I look deep enough, there is something happening in the background.

Today, the conflict of writing when I don't feel like it is occupying my mind. I can sit here all day staring at a blank page, thinking I wanted to write about a certain topic, but my heart's been telling me something else this whole time.

And here's the trick. If I listen to my heart (or gut, or intuition, or whatever the h*ll you want to call it), it's always telling me something. Not just in artistic endeavors such as writing, photography, or music, but it's sharing its wisdom in practical matters.

My head may want me to stay somewhere a little longer, eat something that I know isn't good for me, or write about a particular topic, but the heart is saying 'no'. If I stick with my head, and don't heed my heart's calls, my efforts feel forced. This leads to so-called writer's block, long days of being unproductive, and frustration.

The Heart speaks

Earlier, I was working on another post most of the day, but it's not the one you're seeing now. I think it'll be good when I'm done with it, but my heart was telling me no this whole time.

Then I sit down, start a brand new post, stare at another blank page, and say to myself, what do I really want to say right now?

And here we are. My heart wanted to speak. It wanted to make a declaration.

I'm HERE. I'm with you always.

You don't have to listen, and you don't have to believe.

I'll still be here. If you do listen, if you do believe, then act with courage into the unknown - you won't be disappointed.

In the Power Of One, Peekay's trainer tells him, "First with the head, then with the heart."

It made all the sense in the world when I read that, but the more I think about it, I think it's the opposite:

First with the heart, then with the head.

I think all writers, organizations, artists, lovers, employers, employees, parents, students, and everybody in between should start with their heart, first. The why? question gives you reasons, and those reasons come from the heart.

Why am I writing tonight? Why am I blogging for these 30 days?

Because writing makes me think, and blogging everyday makes me better thinker. If I become a better thinker, I become a better writer, because it's circular. If I become a better writer, then my message is clearer. If the message I write is clearer, the more impact that message will have on others, including me.

Isn't that what we're here to do? Impact others in positive ways? Make people think? Make a dent in your part of the galaxy?

I have respect for writers everywhere who do this everyday, and do it well. Anybody can put out crap, but to keep the consistency of writing well (or doing anything well) is challenging.

Final takeaway

Stop listening to your head, and follow your heart. It'll save you a lot of time, energy, and effort in the long run.

Tonight's post is finally up. I just wished I listened to my heart much sooner.