I have been developing a writing practice where I get up each morning at 5:00 a.m. when the house is still sleeping, I grab my cup of coffee and sit down in the quiet to write. I will write about whatever comes to mind and the one requirement I have is that it is to be something creative, and not about work. I have gone through a recent spell where everything has felt forced. I get up and stare at the blank page. I search my thoughts for inspiration and am disappointed to find little there to work with. I listen to the silence all around for something that I can focus on and bring some new perspective to. The lack of new ideas is deafening. I often feel like I would rather just climb back into bed then put myself through this sense of uninspired stuckness.
This morning I shared my recent frustrations with my daughter who had also risen early. She introduced me to a saying that I had not heard before. “Inspiration is for amateurs.” It is easy to be an artist or a writer when we are inspired, when we have fresh ideas at our disposal, and all our work simply involves capturing the inspiration. The hard work is when we are staring at the blank page uninspired. Where do we go from there? For my writing I must keep on getting up at 5:00 a.m. and struggling past the block to find inspiration where there might be none. I must roll up my sleeves and persevere through the struggle.
So how does all this fit into divorce? Most of the couples that I do my divorce mediation work with would rather be doing something else such as going to see the dentist. I am not offended by this as divorcing is not a pleasant task. It is painful, frightening, uncertain and disruptive. It is not an inspired undertaking. Couples often feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. It is daunting and they would rather climb back into bed and pull the covers over.
Inspiration and Motivation. Divorcing couples, once the decision has been made that the divorce will move forward, can certainly try to avoid dealing with it for a while. Unfortunately, it will continue to loom in the distance, escalating the strain that delaying the inevitable will cause. It is my opinion that once couples sit down to tackle the divorce issues, they will find that it is not as daunting as first imagined. Getting educated on the process, the options and the tasks that need to be accomplished can remove the stress of the unknown. While inspired may be a strong word for diving into this work, part of the motivation for getting started is that it delivers you to a place where you are closer to the finish line.
Let your inspiration and your motivation be that taking that first step is getting you one step closer to taking the last one. Taking that first step is also proof that you are capable of taking it. The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time and there is no finishing until you begin. Let your inspiration and your motivation be that there is life after divorce and you arrive at it by taking all the difficult steps making up the journey.
Perseverance I imagine that some writers when they sit down for each writing session are inspired and all of their work is fit for public consumption. That is not the case for me. I find myself having to work through days and weeks of writings that should not see the light of day. Part of what keeps me going back is those moments of inspiration where I am proud of the result and even willing to offer it for others to read. I stare at the blank notepad in waiting for those times where the words seem ready to jump out of my pen. The periods of struggle make the successes that much more rewarding.
The worst place to be in a divorce is that place where you are at the very beginning and not knowing what to even do first. It is okay to be there. It is okay to take a deep breath before you take the first step. It is also important to not spend too much time frozen in that place. If necessary, get some help, guidance and support to gain the confidence to take that first step. Start getting educated to make sure that step is going in the right direction. Keep taking one step after the other knowing that divorce is a journey and each one, while challenging, is getting you to where you need to be.
Inspiration may be for amateurs but I will take all the inspiration I can get. When it comes to writing, the struggle through the uninspired times is rewarded by the times where writing flows easy. Divorce involves rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. Find inspiration in knowing that each step is getting you through it and there is a finish line waiting out there. Let that motivate you to stay the course. You will be rewarded for putting the time into the work.