It’s staring me in the face.
After months of not writing no matter how much I beat myself up, promise myself I’ll do it tomorrow, set unrealistic goals and timetables …
I’ll never write if I keep going the way I am.
I have done almost no writing for? twelve months? longer? I can’t blame anyone; No one has stopped me; there are always plenty of excuses and reasons.
I’m feeling discontented and dissatisfied. In the back of my mind there’s the niggling thought “Is this all my life is to be?” The day-to-day of life- friends, conversations, visits, gardening, reading … all those things that make up our lives.
I don’t write to make money, to be famous or to be published. I write because it satisfies something within me. I feel complete, content, grounded; when I don’t write I’m discontented and miserable, my life has less meaning, I’m purposeless. Sitting at my computer – writing, pondering, researching, reading – I feel focussed, centred, content. Clicking that button to “publish” gives me such satisfaction and finding a comment on a post or a “like” has me leaping for joy.
I have been trying to fit my writing time in around all the other things that happen. It worked sort of, when I lived here by myself because not so many other things happened. I did have lots of time to myself. But with another person in the house there’s always a conversation, something interesting one of us has just seen or read or heard, or work to be done, or shopping to be sorted or dinner or … then there’s the friendships that have developed and I want to nurture and enjoy … then there’s “being” time and …so many things.
If I want to write, if I want to blog regularly, if I want to keep learning and pushing the boundaries, then I must do more than commit. I must act and practise. And that means, setting aside the time. I don’t work full-time so I have flexibility. I can take my diary each week and block out my working times. And I can act so that nothing takes those times away. There’s plenty of time for other things. For more than twelve months I have acted on the assumption that I could fit writing in. After I’d been out for lunch, after we planned the garden, after I went to the gym, after the housework … then I would write or I could have an early dinner and write in the evening.
Guess what? It hasn’t happened. It hasn’t worked. Not for a very long time.
I’ve been thinking about giving up – you know those moments of “common sense” when you preach the “face the facts and be realistic” lectures. Or could I hold the dream without doing anything much? Live with the vagueness of I’d do it tomorrow, or when I felt like it or when I had some space or ..? That’s how I lived for many years. One day when I have more time, one day when I’m better, one day… I have a house full of one days. One day I’ll use that wool, one day I’ll get back to the piano, one day I’ll go kayaking, one day I’ll garden, one day I’ll…
(Some of those one days won’t happen- more truths to face, to grieve and to accept, but that’s another story.)
I have read all the writers who say essentially the same thing: Writing has to be your job. You have to sit at your writing space for those prescribed hours. It is a discipline and it’s hard work. It requires commitment.
You can have what you want, but you can’t have everything.
This morning, the final piece slid into place. Something shifted in me.
If I’m serious about it then writing must come first and that means making choices. There will be times when I have to say no. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? The challenge is to take myself seriously as a writer. And that’s the hard bit. I might have to acknowledge some of my dreams and if I do, then I might have to do something about them. And that scares me, throws me right up against myself, my fears and my lack of self- belief. I remember my tutor saying at my first ever writing workshop: “You must begin calling yourself a writer. If you write regularly, even if no one else ever sees it, even if you have no plans for publishing, then you are a writer.” Oh how difficult it was, when people asked me what I was doing, to say “I’m writing.” At the moment, if someone asks me what I’m doing, my answer is vague, because I feel ashamed. If people ask for my blog details I don’t want to give them, I’m ashamed of how little I’ve done and how neglected it is.
How did this get finally get home to me?
My friend was travelling home and it was an opportunity to spend time with him. I’d love it. But I’d just returned from a few days in Melbourne, last month a few days’ holiday and yesterday I spent most of the day at the beach. Yes, they’re wonderful things to do, yes it’s good to relax and have fun and yes they’re all necessary …
I saw what I was doing and how I was continuing to sabotage myself. At some point I must say “No”, make a choice. Remember – you can have what you want but you can’t have everything.
I met my friend and we had a lovely time, but I haven’t forgotten. Let’s see how I go.
8 thoughts on “Writing lessons.”
What a lot for you to sort out. I think writers face this at some point. I know I’m in a transition time. You say the answers are inside you. I agree. Best wishes for your exploration. ❤
Hi Auntie Kate!!! Great to see you blog update!!!! [ð]
Just wondering whether you still might like to come down here on Friday 6th when we are in Melbourne? If not, it’s ok because mum will be coming in to Newcastle anyway and can pop in just to check on Asha~ she will be fine!!
Hope all is well with you, and you’ve done some writing?!!
Lots of love
Kate, I do hope you will come to that place in your heart whichwill lead you to what you really want to do. Until then, at least keep reading and stay in touch with people who love to hear from you. I have similar problems right now – I just can’t seem to get back to that mystery I wrote. I can’t look at it, I can’t edit it, I can’t even open the file. I’m not sure what;s going on but I know when the right time comes, I’ll get back to it. (I guess??) PS I love the Auntie Kate note. You are loved. Your friend, Clare
Yes I am loved. Worth everything isn’t it?
The word for the day from http://www.gratefulness.org recently was “Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time.” Asha Tyson. Comforting for me. My greatest challenge is accepting myself as I am- if I’m exhausted, that’s OK, and not to berate myself for it- never helps. You will understand.
As always, thank you.
Yes, dealing with lyme, I’ve had my “lost” days, too. I see you as a beautiful, loving person. I remember that note for Aunty Kate in one of your posts, so I know I’m not alone in thinking this, and it truly is worth everything. Have fun this weekend and thank you for that lovely quote this morning. I will think of it throughout the day.
Kate, I just re-read this post and then I found my original comment. Hey! I finally finished the book! Woohoooooo! Like I said, when the right time comes, it will happen – for you and for me. And I went kayaking! Major strides. Have fun, my friend. And keep in touch, please. Clare
Yes I read about your kayaking- well done. Me, I love kayaking, don’t do enough of it. A current goal is to find a swimming coach who can help improve my swimming- love the water but not a good swimmer. I so much appreciate you, you give me hope.
I’ve always felt a close kinship with you, too, Kate, from those first shared comments. That WP101 group we were in has proven to be a loyal bunch and many are still connecting and encouraging each other to write and to publish. I felt in your last two posts a sense that you’re having some fun with friends – and you have a new house and house mate. I lived alone for a very long time and didn’t get much writing done. But Charley’s presence isn’t at all a distraction and he encourages me to write, so I think after you settle in, your writing will flourish. And you have lots to share and someone with which to bounce around your ideas. I should take some swim lessons, too, because I did enjoy the kayaking (except for the getting stuck on the rock part). Take care and stay in touch. ⛵️ (alas, no kayak emojis!) Clare