Learn How to Jam

On Jellyfishing the Writing Adventure


By Christine Carron

A few years ago, I was at a workshop where the facilitator led us into a meditative state. During the meditation, I had a waking dream where I was floating deep in the ocean and jellyfish were all around me. It was an extraordinarily beautiful and soothing experience. 

It was also unusual imagery for me. I grew up in landlocked Missouri. Ocean is not my natural water vibe. I’m more of a lake, river, stream, bubbling brook kind of girl. None of which are jellyfish habitats. 

Before that dream, my main association with jellyfish was that they can sting, perhaps so badly they can kill you. (Yikes!) Yet there I was in dreamy communion with them. Profound dreamy communion.

Weeks passed. Months passed. The dream stayed with me. It eventually sent me on a learning mission, and when I landed on the research about how jellyfish move, I was gobsmacked. 

How Jellyfish Moves Had Us Fooled

For the longest time, the general opinion of jellyfish was that they were drifters. Slackers. Riding the tides, cruising the currents, hitchhiking the oceanic highways. Then scientists discovered that, in actuality, jellyfish are the most energy-efficient swimmers in the sea. For every swimming move they make, they get an extra 80% of forward momentum for free. 

The propulsion freebie is due to the way they move. Most animals, humans included, move forward by pushing back against something. Jellyfish move forward by creating space (in the form of lower water pressure) in front of them. They shift the water out of the way, and the pressure differential sucks them forward

This is where my eyes started to cross with excitement. 

Becoming the Jellyfish

When I manage a project in the corporate world, a key part of my job is to remove any blocks that slow down the team. It doesn’t matter if the block is a goofy process, an irate client, or unreasonable deadlines, my job is to handle the situation, i.e., remove the extra pressure. 

When I do my part, the team moves forward naturally as they remain focused on their specific creative artistry—design, development, quality assurance, etc.

Which all means . . .  I function like the team’s personal jellyfish propulsion! 

Jellyfish Serenity Switch-up

I’m having a serious jellyfish metaphor nirvana moment here. Not just for me. For you, too. 

Goodjelly is all about encouragement and uplift. We are also about dealing with reality. And the reality is that the writerly adventure can be hard sometimes. A slog. Outright destabilizing. It is easy in those moments to fall into (and possibly get stuck in) a pattern of pushing, struggling and efforting. Or worse, getting down on ourselves. 

What if we tried something different? Meaning when the adventure gets into those gnarly bits, instead of going to strain and strife, we go full jellyfish. Calm. Serene. Remove the block, flow. Remove the next block, flow. Again. Again. Again.

The Who’s Who of Moving and Flowing

To pull off this jellyfish switch-up effectively, it will require you to call forth the right part of you at the right time. For the moving (i.e., removing the blocks), call upon your inner project manager. 

Your inner pm may only be a junior project manager at this point, but trust that they are there, ready to work and ready to take charge. Also, if you rarely call upon your inner project manager, be prepared for them to be a little giddy the first few times you ask for their help. They’ll calm down after a few assignments. 

Once the block is gone, thank your inner pm for their effort, and let them recede. 

Let your inner writer step forward into the newly created spaciousness to ride the flow. To enjoy the easeful, effortless forward momentum. Yes!

Unleash the Jellyfishery

Channeling this level of energetic precision is a skill that will grow over time. It is a worthwhile practice. When we can smartly and strategically call upon various energies, potentialities, and selves inside of us, we will naturally experience more ease and flow on the writerly adventure. 

Walt Whitman called it when he said that we contain multitudes. The trick is making sure our multitudes are in the right place and at the right time. 

When they are, we are jellyfishing the adventure, for sure!

The Goodjelly Prompt of the Week

  • Action Prompt: Focus on a situation in your writing life, where you are experiencing a block. Ask your inner pm how they want you to handle the situation. Ask the same of your inner artist. Are their answers the same? Different? Did anything surprise you in their answers?
  • Scene Prompt: Write a scene where your character encounters a jellyfish. Before you start writing, decide what emotional slant you want the scene to have, and then write to that effect.
  • Journaling Prompt: What feelings, thoughts, reactions does this idea of jellyfishing your writerly adventure bring up for you? How developed is your inner pm? How developed is your inner artist? How easy is it for you to adjust the volume/strength of each?
  • Connection Prompt: Introduce ideas from this post to your writing friends. Where have you all experienced struggle on the adventure? Where have you experienced ease? Has that changed over time?

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