I set December aside for writing. I love it – settling down by the fire with my laptop, watching the world outside struggle with the frost and cold, knowing that I don’t need to go anywhere. I’ve done it before – decided what I want to write; talked to relevant people; then gone into hibernation to put finger to keyboard and explore my learning. It worked perfectly for three books, but this time, I’m struggling.
I suppose this must be ‘writers block’. The question is – am I just not able to get on with what I need to write or is the block an indication that I’m trying to write the wrong thing? I spent all last week attempting to squeeze myself into a plan, but all that did was leave me addicted to Netflix. I couldn’t see my way clear and I just avoided at all costs.
Writing Second Act style
I can be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. It came to me today that this is an apt metaphor for the Second Act. Here I am, pushing myself down a tried and tested pathway – one that worked well as I waltzed my way through the familiar First Act. But now it’s not working – what a surprise! That temptation to hang onto the old ways is exactly why entry into the Second Act is such tough going. My feet are caught in the mud, while my head and heart have already moved somewhere quite different – if I will but see it.
My problem is – and you might recognise this – I like to know where I’m going and I just don’t. I want to be sure and clear, and I’m not. I can say wise words to others about life being a journey and needing to go one step at a time – but that doesn’t mean I like it!
I thought I had done it. Thought I was firmly in my Second Act, having traversed the desert of ‘in between’. But here I am again – clearly there is something else I need to learn.
Trust the process
I’ve worked all my life in Gestalt psychology – it’s a brilliant methodology. In Gestalt, we would advocate staying with what’s happening now, without trying to be something you’re not. How often have I said in the past ‘ stick with your confusion’/ ‘trust the process’. If I can manage to trust the process right now, I know it will come out right – I’ve seen and experienced it happening so many times. And in fact, there isn’t anything else to do – trying to force a direction hasn’t worked. Amazing how easily I forgot!
OK, so now I’m ready to listen. I will sit with my confusion and see what comes out of it.
But that doesn’t mean I have to stop writing. Instead of coming out with some thought through, finalised version of how to manage the Second Act with panache and enthusiasm, as I had hoped, I might as well write about the ups and downs as I navigate yet another transition. I can also tell the stories of amazing women I meet on the way; as well as find out how you are all getting on. Now that feels more like it – I will look forward to doing that!
So here we go – live progress through the Second Act gateway. Let’s see who I will become now I’m 65.