The Multipotentialite Writer: Multipotentialite Series

When I discovered I was a multipod, I realized that my tendency to pick up interests and drop them ad infinitum was not a deep character flaw but simply a characteristic.

It was liberating to realize there was nothing wrong with me.

But it took me a little longer to realize that my identity as a multipod has meaning for my writing as well.

I write like a multipod. What does that mean? Well, currently, I have several projects I’m working on; fantasy/folklore, horror, memoir, and this blog. I also have a lot of ideas for other kinds of stories in various genres.

There is an internet full of writing advice, and I’ve read many, MANY books on writing in the past few years. Most of it tends to have the same problems for multipotentalite writers as conventional career advice does for multipotentialites in life.

Finish what you start.

– Most advice

As multipods, we’re told to stick with one career, one passion, for life. That’s being debunked as we speak by awesome people like Barbara Sher and Emilie Wapnick (go Puttytribe!), but there’s been so little on multipotentialite writers.

Finish your story, even if you don’t feel like it, or it’s not what you’d envisioned, or it didn’t go the direction you thought. That’s what I read and saw in dozens of places. And it always, always made me feel guilty. Yes, I have finished stories. I think there is incredible value in finishing something, to know you can and to develop the ability to finish a story to its end. I felt hugely accomplished when I finished my first novel two years ago.

But is it always the right thing to do? Is it worth it to keep working on a story you fall out of love with? Writing advice is a bit like dating advice; you’ll stop feeling it, but you must still commit and work at it. That’s what love is. Yes, I agree. That’s what love is. Is that what writing is?

I love metaphors as much as anyone, but in this case, I don’t think love and writing match. Just like I don’t think love and careers match for multipods. The whole “soul-mate,” one-for-life kind of things works for love. I believe in monogamy. I believe in working out a relationship with someone you love, especially when the going gets tough.

I don’t believe in a career soul-mate. Not anymore. It doesn’t exist for a multipod, who will move through careers and passions and interests and must do so. 

It also doesn’t exist for multipod writers. I have at least ten stories going. Conventional wisdom would have me finish each story before moving on to the next one, or, as some less narrow views have expressed, have two projects going that are very different, so if I experience writing fatigue with one I can still keep my writing edge by working on the other. But I’m not allowed to work too much on the other until I’ve finished the one I’ve set my mind on.

It’s bad advice for multipods. It just is. As in life and all our passions, we must be allowed to move between things. We must be allowed to go as far as we need to and let something go when it’s time.

I used to look at all my unfinished stories as black marks against my credibility, but now I see them as stepping stones. There are stories inside me that must come out, and sometimes I have to circle around to them through other stories before I can get to them.

I’m circling around my point as well.

The point is; if you are a multipotentialite and a writer, you will have many projects at once, and you will bounce back and forth between them, leaving some unfinished. And that’s okay. That is natural for you, as natural as bouncing between interests is.

Once I realized what was happening, and that I was feeling the same guilt with my writing as I once did with my interests, I had a real ‘aha’ moment. I decided to allow myself the freedom to write whatever I wanted, as long as I was hitting my mini-habit goal of fifty words a day.

I made cards like the Rotating Priorities Board, one for each writing project, and taped them to my wall – there to switch around as my feeling dictated per day. Now, I can look at all my options and go with the one I’m feeling most in tune with that day or week. And usually, it’s not a case of five minutes here, then five minutes there. I really don’t think that could be productive. But I have found that some weeks I’m really into blogging, so I write a dozen or so posts. That’s great because there are other weeks when I just want to work on my story, and I have those blog posts already ready to go.

And then some weeks I just need to journal, so that’s my writing.

But no matter what, I’m always writing, and I’m fulfilling my need. It’s just not in the same way as other writers; writers who, like the one-career-for-life people we see, can dedicate years and years to a single book. We think we should look like them. We think we should have the same kind of writing attitudes and work desk and schedule that they do, and as multipods, we forget that our multipod identity extends even within our interests.

I’m here to tell you that as a multipotentialite writer, your writing journey will look different, and that’s okay.

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Changing My Life: Discovery Series

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I realized something the other day that got me really excited. I am someone who exercises.

Let’s back up. My whole life I have been someone who never exercised. I’ve never enjoyed it and all my attempts invariably failed. Like many kids, I did soccer and basketball and equestrian sports through high school, but there’s a difference between that and exercise.

After high school, when I couldn’t afford jumping lessons anymore, I stopped altogether. Sure, I tried P90X and various other “fun” and “x-treme!” cardio videos, and even aimed for the Color Run one year, pounding away around my apartment complex, but I never, ever enjoyed it. I figured that exercise was just a necessary evil that I would probably never really do with enough consistency to make it matter. I even got into boxing while in Korea, but though I loved doing it, only stuck with it a month.

To sum up; the storyline and identity I had in my head about myself was that I was not a person who exercised. That was true until this year.

This year, I moved home from Korea. This year, I decided to exercise every day. This year, I have exercised every day. And I had to stop and realize that the old identity (someone who doesn’t exercise) isn’t true anymore. I’m now someone who exercises every day.

How did I do it?

I made a plan while I was still living in Korea. I had just been hit with a devastating health crisis and knew I would be moving home to deal with it.

My plan was to start with gentle yoga, which I could just about handle. Find a good series and do the beginner videos, and if I had to stop halfway through, that was okay.

Next would come more intense yoga as I built up strength and flexibility from zero.

Then I planned on getting into pilates and more cardio type stuff, moving from there to boxing again (since I enjoyed it so much) and maybe even to MMA (I’ve always wanted to learn).

Right now, I’m smack dab in the middle of the intense yoga and pilates phase. I’ve been doing yoga every day and this week I started a pilates program. (Let me just say, I did a booty bootcamp video and haven’t been able to walk straight for two days. Um, success?)

It’s an audacious plan, and obviously I don’t know how far I’ll go, but so far? I’m doing really well.

I decided to exercise every day before breakfast. I have no idea if that’s the best option or what, but for me, it definitely is. If I know I have to wait to eat until after I’ve worked out, I will get to my room and roll out that mat first thing. Plus, tying it to waking up is a strong habit signal.

I wake up, drink some water, head to my office and the very first thing I do is roll out the mat. I usually meditate first as well, but the first action I take in the morning in that room is to roll out the mat. I made sure that no matter what else happened, that mat was out. Some days I was already starving before I began, other days not. Some days it felt like the worst thing to do yoga, and other days (more and more these days) it felt amazing.

And it worked! I went from someone who never exercised to someone who exercises every day. It’s become habitual!

The Results

I did gentle yoga for all of January, alternating between several of Adriene’s videos on Youtube.

In February I noticed I could do downward dog for once, was getting less shaky overall, and was actually enjoying the practice each time. I was enjoying pushing myself (that had never happened).

So by mid-February, I knew I was ready to move up, and started Adriene’s 30 days of yoga series she did a couple of years ago. I figured it would be a good way to progress naturally. I alternated it with other, gentler videos for days that were rough (as someone with anxiety, I need that option to be kind to myself), but mostly I kept up with it.

Now in March I’ve been finishing up her course and, as I said above, starting in on Pilates.

I’m using the Blogilates videos by Cassey Ho. I’ve followed her on Instagram for a while and I love her personality, so it was an easy transition. Well, I say that….damn my thighs and butt hurt.

I’m doing the 6 Week Body Toning Bootcamp, which is one video per week, but I guess you repeat each video to get a full workout. I did the first one, the booty one, two days ago but could only get through two runs. I mean, I barely made it through the first run. And between the pilates videos I’ll keep up yoga to help stretch the sore muscles.

I’m really happy. I did it, I’m sore, but I’m not discouraged. My whole attitude has changed along with my identity. It was amazing when I stopped to realize that my whole identity had to be altered.

If you’ve ever struggled to keep up an exercise program, don’t get discouraged! I thought I would never be a person who could do it once a week, let alone every day, and here I am. I tried and tried for years until I found something that worked, and you can too!

Best of luck!

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