Live a Little, Write a Lot!
Story bits and poem parts bombard my thoughts on a regular basis…but only when I escape my writing desk and explore the world around, do they grow into full-fledged ideas. Part of my writing regime is getting out from behind the work and living.
I used to believe I had to escape from life to write, an arduous task when I teach by day and write by night and weekends. I’m a mother of three, wife, friend, you name it! Time is of essence, and I used to believe I needed to spend as much time writing as possible. But this drive to write all the time caused three complications: my exhaustion level, guilt from missing family time, and the quality of my work.
- Exhaustion is something I feel I will never sleep away. It’s the mental tug on my brain for many reasons, but mostly, overuse. I think at work. I think at home. I think about writing. I think about the books I read. I think about making dinner. I think about paying bills. I think about my family’s needs. Endlessly, I think and think and think.
- Guilt, being away from my family to write after I’ve been at work all day, is another thought that races vigorously through my mind. Even sneaking out to make dinner, and sitting down at the table to have a family meal, or spending time with kid-needs, I would find any pockets of time to slither back to my desk, writing until bedtime (or sometimes well past). Sadly, good writing never comes when I feel bad.
- When I snag writing time here and there, the quality of my work seems rushed, sometimes left with broken edges. My whims seem to shift with each restart, and I find it difficult to pick up where I left off.
I discovered, quiet accidentally, that feeling busy in life never goes away. So, if I move with it, the journey is more pleasant. I started changing my attitude a year ago when a friend invited me to go on a hike. I thought to myself, “No, I shouldn’t go. I have so much writing to do, and my free time is limited.” But, something in the back of my mind sang a repeating melody, “Go, go, go! Live and learn. Relationships are the most important way to spend your time.”
I went. And when I returned, I was able to write more than I thought possible. I know now, I needed the reboot. The fresh air. The inspiration.
On another occasion, I had family in town (and I love my family) but I couldn’t help fretting about my loss of writing time. It wasn’t long before that little tune started tempo in my mind. “Go, go, go! Live and learn. Relationships are the most important way to spend your time.” I took a breath, joined my family with a positive attitude, and let my writing go. When I returned to create? Again, new motivation!
For me, living life as it happens creates experiences that refresh and inspire. Even when I struggle with the craft, I feel better inside. I must trust that my writing improves in the process.
Writing Advice: A Little For A Lot
I know that finding quality writing time is critical (as well as difficult). At some points in our writing lives, we may want to pass up on dinner with friends, or a walk through the park with our kids. Maybe we put off the laundry because we’re on a roll. Now, those things do happen (to everyone, not only writers) but I’ve noticed in my life, when I move with my obligations instead of against them, I find my output actually increases, and is hopefully richer.
I am not saying this is the way for everyone. But I am challenging you to give it a try. At the end of the day, relationships are most important. And time away from our computers and focus is a healthy choice because the brain continues its work. Both equate to a fresher mind and a better sense of direction. Better writing.
Let me know what you discover.
Happy Writing (because, even when you stop to live life along the way, you’re still writing),
Celaine Charles, August 18, 2019
My iPhone 😊
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