Whether hyphenated or not, the word, re-entry, evokes images of the first rockets re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, observed as a young child on the family, square brown TV. All of my years mining the self-awareness fields, I experienced re-entry time and again. But, unfortunately, as the hours and years piled on, the re-entry became less and less easy, mostly due to changing regulations on re-entry value.
Three years ago, I came to the rapid conclusion it had come time to end my 35-year residency in a big city, including my 20-year business, and retire to a small nearby seaport. The objective of this transition was to return to my creative roots, specifically my writing, and ultimately, the creation of my fourth musical. But, it’s a different world now, and the first step I encountered was to let go of my ideas of what to expect from a re-entry.
My first obstacle was my mindset. I was used to and totally dependent on a coaching mindset; accustomed to structuring training steps and encouraging athletes to find the inner discipline to follow them. However, writing fiction requires me to put myself aside to allow characters spacious room to express themselves.
This was a problem. I was deeply addicted to an urgent scrambling to be heard whenever in the company of others. Thus, coaching was a perfect fit — the more I explained training steps, the more I thought I was heard. But, unfortunately, it turns out it’s a scam. The coaching mindset encourages lost souls to feel important and heard when they couldn’t hear themselves.
I expected my re-entry into the writing zone to be a no-brainer. I had plenty of content, so what was the problem? The problem was I expected attention when I spoke, and no one in my new community knew me by name or reputation. In some ways, this was a blessing. But, on the other side of blessing, I paid the consequences of releasing my coach mindset.
I had to learn to hear myself instead of projecting on others they heard and validated me. This process was dreadfully uncomfortable. Not only had I not be trained in the art of listening to myself, but the act of doing so was also socially under-leveraged if not downright taboo.
But, I fancied assuming a writer’s role and persevered. I learned to hear myself, which of course, led to significant editing expertise. I was careful not to get caught up in wanting praise for my efforts, even when that was difficult. Until I ran into a wall constructed by Inner Demon Voices. We all know about them, but elite creatives know them the best. I expected I would probably have to take them on if I wanted to cross the border into authentic writing, but I was ill-prepared for the consequences.
It makes sense I would need to acknowledge responsibility for the stories I told, but, once again, I ran into a lifetime of training. I understand my characters deserve to be seen in their own light, and, as a writer, this means I must not approach the writing desk with personal agendas. But I find myself competing with the characters for who needs to be heard the most. Of course, if I am to be heard first and foremost, I will only end up coaching or controlling my characters into oblivion—a tough gap to cross. Re-entry of any kind is a paradox.