Here's what happens when I spend a day covered in paint with my husband and never actually open my very-important-daily-notebook-inside-of-which-all-life-is-organized.

What happens is I forget what I've planned to post and talk about on a given day. Which is how we arrived at today and this moment wherein I slapped my forehead and said

I missed it!

Because yesterday, my beautiful friends, was *dun da da duunn!*

Half Way Day!

Exactly half way through my 90-day blogging challenge! Now I'm at half plus one, closer to success than failure. I'm already planning to continue after the challenge is over, but I'll probably reduce my rate down to maybe 5 days a week. In the meantime, the important thing is to just follow through on what I committed to. 

A couple of years ago, my friend Tim and I launched an artist experiment called The Seven Collective. The idea was that most artists - the serious ones, anyway - have some of the same challenges. Things like seeing a project through and not hopping distractedly from idea to idea like rabbits in a field of clover and prioritizing our art when we feel like big fat frauds.

We theorized that maybe, if we got together and set out to each accomplish one project over six months, maybe with the camaraderie and accountability we could each move the needle on producing the work inside of us. At the end of those six months, we planned to have a gallery open house to show off our accomplishments, and we did! Over all it was a great success.

One of the things we found we all had in common was this idea that every artist loves the beginning of a new project and is soundly gratified by the success of the end. But we all seemed to struggle with what I have come to affectionately call

The Heinous Middle

For those projects you can't accomplish in just one sitting, in the heinous middle can hold a bouquet full of boredom, frustration, insecurity, uncertainty, loss of clarity, and loss of interest. Like the side effects list for a medication. You're too far from the beginning to remember the romance of the idea and too far from the end to be encouraged by the light at the end of the tunnel.

It can seem endless and pointless.

It's awful.

It's the barrier to entry for all success in life, I've come to believe. Because it's only projects that require large investment that have a middle and it's only projects with large investment which have the potential for big returns!

If there were no heinous middle, we'd all be productive geniuses with vast quantities of superlative work to show for our magical efforts. But we're not. We're artists whose hearts and attention and creativity get all tangled up and snagged in the thicket of the heinous middle and only a fraction of our ideas ever make it to the other side.

That's okay. Only a fraction of them have what it takes.

Because it's the heinous middle that refines our work and our character.

It's in the middle that we earn our success.

It's in the middle that we recognize the weak spots.

It's in the middle that we start to uncover the true shape of beauty.

It's in the middle that we fall in love with our work, that we really hear the soul of it.

It's in the middle that it goes from a shallow and shining idea - a trickle of a stream, lovely but unable to affect much, to a deep and powerful river of a thing, able to shape and move and change and quench.

The middle separates the novice from the master, the thinker from the do-er, the giver from the gift.

Me personally, I'm in the thick of the middle in so many things. This blog, our house, the adoption, our health(s). But I'm not afraid of the middle anymore, long and dark as it can be.

...yea, though I walk through ...

So here's to the middle, that wise teacher, that unbending disciplinarian....

That heinous friend.

Happy Half Way Day, + 1




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