Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Filling In the Form

Procrastination is my sin.
It brings me naught but sorrow.

I know that I should stop it.

In fact, I will–tomorrow!

— Gloria Pitzer

Today, we start the home stretch for this chapter of recovering our sense of strength. Having done a little more soul searching, it’s time to move forward. We begin what Julia calls, “Filling the Form.”

This is all about now taking small, steady steps and ignoring our impulses to skip dramatically ahead to huge changes we might imagine or foresee, and for which we might not be quite prepared. For several days now, we’ve been deepening the understanding that our creativity is a joyful process. The end product is not as important as the dance of getting there. Keeping that firmly in mind, then, strike up the band! “In order to sell a screenplay, you must first write one,” Julia reminds us. “In order to write one, you must come up with an idea and then commit it to paper, a page at a time until you have about 120 pages of script.

“‘Filling in the form’ means that you write your daily pages [of the script; she’s not referring here to morning pages. – B]. It means that when obsession strikes – as it will – about how the damn thing is not any good, you tell yourself that is a question for later and turn back to doing what is the next right thing. And that means you write the pages of the day.”

SARK (another of my favorite guides in this work, as you know by now) calls these “micromovements.” And they are fantastically powerful. They are actually what gets the job done. She explains them in her excellent book, Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day (and yes, that really is the title and subtitle, right there on the front cover!).

“As creative dreamers,” she writes, “we are all filled with fabulous ideas and descriptions relating to our creative dreams. We are also aware that some of what leads to a dream fulfilled may be tedious, mundane, boring, or just really time-consuming. If you are a practicing procrastinator, perfectionist, avoider, just plain busy, or want to stay in bed and not really do anything, mircomovements are designed especially for you.”

She goes on to explain that she is prone to every one of these hazards, and also is plagued (like many of us) with a short attention span. She invented her micromovements in order to cope. “I would embark on a project,” she confides, “filled with excitement and enthusiasm, and then would get distracted, lose interest, or just feel overwhelmed.

“Every time I tried to follow through on exercises, plans, or goals, I would quit in the middle and feel like a pathetic failure.

“Then, I realized that I didn’t have to complete a project all at once. I saw that I could work in smaller bursts of energy and in much shorter increments of time. I could do just about anything for 5 minutes. So I began experimenting with my new system and was astonished to discover how many things I was able to finish and complete.”

Does this get some ideas churning? Good! There are lots more tomorrow!

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  • October 8, 2009, 10:49 am Susannah

    YES, YES, YES! I am a teacher, and I just got off the phone with a student whom I helped break down something overwhelming into microsteps! I am going to do this for the gazillion half-completed things I have started. Anne Lamott speaks to this in her book BIRD BY BIRD. I love it! I feel better now! Thanks!

  • October 8, 2009, 10:50 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    YAY!!!

  • October 8, 2009, 12:17 pm Athene Noctua

    Ok, this might be a bit off-topic, but thought I'd share it anyways.

    As someone who'd rather read, sleep, do anything, but clean house
    I first encountered equivalan of "Micro-moments" in Sink Reflections, a book that is about house cleaning and spirituality and self-care. When I followed this program, I'd actually have a tidy house and take better care of myself.

    Interesting to see the parallels between creative motion and house cleaning.

    Am going to check out the SARK book. As I am a procrastinating perfectionist.

    Thanks again for another great post Beth Owl. Have a great weekend and Blessed Be.