Effortless writing

I went on a retreat last weekend. It was the first time I’d done anything like that and I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure if I’d be required to hug trees (scratchy), bare my soul (uncomfortable) or sit in silence (me? impossible!!!).

The topic was Effortless Living – something I could certainly do with. I live at a million miles an hour with barely a moment to draw breath. I’m not complaining – I love my life and I enjoy being busy. If I try to slow down by doing less, I soon fill the space it creates with something else. So, time to stop and think and find a bit of calm was a good thing for me to do.

As you might expect, we spent time considering the meaning of the words Effort  and Effortless. It was interesting – to begin with, all the associations with effort were negative. Hard work; pain; struggle…

But, the more we considered it, the more I came to realise that the difference between Effort and Effortless is all in the mind and it is clearest when I think about my writing.

When I am writing, when everything is working for me, I work at it really hard. I put in time, energy, thinking power. It can be a struggle and painful. It is, in fact, Effort. 

And yet it is joyful. I don’t think of it as a chore or something I have to force myself to do. In fact, the biggest frustration I usually find is that I don’t have enough time to write. If I have a spare half hour coming up, the first thought in my mind is always, “great – writing time.” Writing is my purpose and I love it. It is, in every way, Effortless.

And that is all I have to remember. At the times when the plot isn’t working out or one of my characters has wandered off in the wrong direction or I am being asked to write an article and have no clue what to put in it, all I have to bring to mind is that this is what I am here for and then it is no longer an Effort.

Have an effortless week!

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