Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why I'm going to Refuse to Choose


It might be a bit over-the-top to say that Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher changed my life but it's come pretty close. I encountered it first on the lovely Vignettes de la vie blog and just the title was enough to draw me in. So I got a hold of it, devoured it and wrote a review of it on Creative Women's Circle this week.

I've always been overwhelmed by ideas (I'm not saying they're any good, mind you) and bombarded with a very noisy internal dialogue urging me in different directions while paradoxically insisting I just choose something and stick with it. Yeah, it's fun to be me.

But for the first time while reading this book I started to see my random interests as exciting, not a burden. I feel like this book has helped me give myself permission to pursue them. Each and every one of them. I don't have to bat new interests off with a stick, I can just enjoy them and let them run their natural course.

One of the things this book suggests is to create a three-ring binder system containing all your interests and ideas, things to follow-up and pursue. One interest per folder. I'm not much of a fan of folders - they make me feel like I'm back in high school and they take up a lot of space. Plus, I don't tend to print out much material for plastic pocket insertion. I just write longhand on paper, usually, in the initial exploration phase of an idea.

So instead, I raided my stash of pretty notebooks (I buy them for no reason and stockpile them - it's a character flaw), cracked each one open at the first page and wrote down the title of a project, interest or idea I want to pursue. Probably I will never fill these notebooks entirely but just the act of creating separate spaces for my different projects...well, you have no idea how calm that makes me feel. I did this a couple of weeks ago and so far the system is working. Hooray!