My Life as a Writer

This week, I realized I’ve let a few things slip through the cracks. Someone asked me if they were life and death things. At first, I said no; no one died or struggled with major life issues because of my inattention. Then again, …

Celebrating life as it’s being lived is a priority to me. So realizing it’s been weeks since my friend had her baby and that I haven’t been over to celebrate her new son, pains me. I’ve forgotten to return texts to a friend who just got back from India. I want to celebrate her adventures. I’ve also missed some of my usual reach out calls to friends and family. Yes, these are life issues.

It’s tempting to blame the muse. The second book in my Spiraling Past series wants to be completed. I’ve been lost in that world. Writing has been so easy in the last couple weeks. Not only am I close to completing book two, but another entire series is knocking at my door waiting to be written.

When the magic of story flows so easily and brings me such joy, I want to stay with it. Part of my brain tells me that writer’s block could come knocking at my door at any time, so it just makes plain good sense to stay with it when the muse is with me and the process is flowing.

But sustainability is the lesson of this decade for me. I seek a rhythm to life that brings me joy and ease. A thirteen hour day of writing is really not part of that rhythm. Yet, I wrote for thirteen hours one day last week. Still, I’m relatively new at this writing thing, so I’m being gentle with myself. I’m creating systems for sustainability. For instance, I make myself get up and do something every two hours. The laundry gets done, the garden gets tended to.  These are obvious to me, because if I don’t get up at least every two hours, my knees complain quite loudly – and all those scientific studies of the risks of a sedentary life start a dance of fear in my head. Then the studies about how fear depletes the immune system start having their say.

Elizabeth Gilbert blessed us all with her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. She talks about trusting the process and not worrying so much about fearing writer’s block, or any number of other blocks to creativity. Dr. Brene Brown warns us about foreboding joy, which is exactly what I’m doing when I let the fear of possible writer’s block keep me chained to the laptop.

I’ve decided to trust the stories and to trust my characters to wait, so that I can celebrate life – not just when I’m done with the project, but all along the way. As I’m writing this, I’m remembering that Cailleen, from In the Arms of the Spiral, struggled with these balance issues. Her circle encouraged her to make space for a personal life. Now, I feel her reaching out to me with the same encouragement.

I think I’ll drive to the river, take a walk, talk to the trees, breathe and enjoy the light at dusk. My characters approve.

Here’s to sustainability!  ~ Lena

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