Thursday, March 10, 2011

Calliope's Comeback: The Importance of Quitting

Many view walking away from something as a form of throwing in the towel. "She's a quitter!" some might say behind her back. In fact, I might be one to hurl the first stone in that regard. And over a month ago I did just that. I QUIT WRITING. And then stoned myself metaphorically, wiling away the hours with Spider Solitaire, cyber-shopping and random movies.

There's something to be said for self-flagellation. In my case it brought renewal, minus the ugly scars. More to the point,the scars became marks of beauty and reminders that it's better to realize what is necessary to the cause, rather than push through and hate every minute of it. It brought an awakening, new perspective and adjustment. And it silenced...

Ugly Inner Critic. Don't get me wrong, voices in my head have multiple purposes, but Ugly Inner Critic belittled my work. I found that very defeating. It flat-lined the creative process, made writing more about how much I could scribble, quality taking a back seat to quantity.

Where is the good in just "showing up to the page" if not bringing your A-game? In retrospect, that's what I did, even though not "feeling it," I figured it was better to act the part, non-productive as it was. Worst part about going through the motions was that it robbed my spirit and love for the art. Hate filled my pages, and perhaps that was a good thing. It stopped my writing - the necessary brick wall.

The good news is that the time away from writing acted as a cleansing ritual. Putting distance between the Ugly Inner Critic's hubris and my precious Calliope brought inner peace.

Now as I write (did I mention I returned to the pages?), I feel the meditative sweetness enveloping my muse. Words flow collectively, no longer weighted down with over-thinking. Now when I write I don't feel Ugly Inner Critic hovering. Rather I feel the spirit of her, the one saving grace that gave me the courage not only to quit, but to return full throttle. After all, everyone needs a mentor. She is mine, strong and able to help me survive my recent self-imposed exile.

So when life gives you lemons, when writing becomes an uphill battle and your muse has been steamrolled by your personal kill-joy, walking away isn't as awful as it might appear. In my case it taught me that the heart of a true writer doesn't wither but grows stronger. May the pen forever be mightier than the sword, and the muse be forever stronger than The Ugly Inner Critic.