Conscious Living and therefore Conscious Writing is about taking healthy, 100 percent responsibility. Martyrs try to take responsibility for what belongs to others. Victims blame others for what belongs to them. Healthy responsibility means you take 100 percent responsibility for what you own while kindly inspiring others to do the same. (Note: You cannot force others to take 100 percent responsibility for themselves, no matter how much this would improve everything. Take it from a slow learner.)

When you take healthy responsibility, you are clear about the agreements you make with other people; you do or don’t do what you say you will or won’t do; you know how to change agreements that aren’t working; and you know what to do when you fail to keep an agreement. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to own it.

How does this apply to writing?

Responsibility includes responsibility to ourselves and to our commitments to ourselves. For us, this means our commitment to our writing, our creative health, and the agreements we make with ourselves to take good care of that health.

How often do you say something like:

·      I’d write more, but…

·      I would have met that deadline, except…

·      I would have finished my novel this year, but…

·      I would have gone to the writing workshop, but…

·      I didn’t sit down to right at my scheduled time because…

There are good reasons you can’t make your writing commitments. Family and work obligations, financial issues, poor health, and other aspects of life get in our way. However, if you find yourself regularly making excuses instead of your creative work, you should take time to rethink your agreements.

Consider the buts, excepts, and becauses that you rely on when you miss your creative time. Are they truly unavoidable or are they excuses? Also, re-examine your commitments. If writing every day or attending a weekly writers group is too much for you now, find an agreement that works for you. If you’d really rather garden, knit, or watch television than write, you can toss the agreement altogether.

None of this is meant to shame anyone who isn’t meeting their goals or suggest that you are irresponsible. Conscious Living/Conscious Writing is about discovering who we are and what we want, committing to what brings us fulfillment, and taking responsibility for making it happen.

When you’ve had time to consider realistic and desirable commitments, practice saying them out loud. I’ll go first:

·      I can make a clear agreement with myself to engage in my creative practice.

·      I keep my agreements with myself.

·      When I cannot keep my agreements, I know I can change them so that I maintain my creative commitment and integrity.

·      I know how to say no to agreements that would interfere with my existing creative agreements with myself.

·      My agreements with myself are important to my creative health and fulfillment, and I am solely responsible for keeping them.

What agreements would you add?