I'm writing and I love it.
For the first time in years I'm writing fiction and I'm on a roll. I can't get enough of it.
Have you ever had the experience of being so wrapped up in a creative process that it gives you a sense of euphoria; a very legal high? You lose time when you are engaged In the creative behavior. There are no rights or wrongs for it is your very own process, but there is the excitement of seeing what the piece will look like when it is is fully born.
I took creative writing classes in college, one was to meet my English general study requirements. My professor encouraged me to continue writing and recommended another writing class. The next professor simply gave me one instruction: you must write.
I had loved to write since childhood; it was a coping mechanism and creative outlet. I knew I would always write but could not convince myself that continuing to study writing would put me on a solid career path. I was in the situation of being 100% responsible for putting myself through college and supporting myself financially.
The choice to not follow the advice of these professors is one of the few regrets I have although I do firmly abide by the mantra "everything happens for a reason in that particular season." (yep, I just made the season part up but I think it is befitting)
Throughout the years I played with some fiction and poetry. I journaled ad nauseam. I didn't submit work except one nonfiction piece which struck the editor's interest. I worked with the editor for a while before deciding to put the article on hold because the content was personal and far too raw for me at the time; I was losing my objectivity. She encouraged me to get back in contact and life got away from me. I am not proud of this.
I wrote a series of articles for the Illinois Times because I knew that Springfield, Illinois had its share of alternative/ integrative/holistic practitioners but there was no since of connectivity or real understanding of them in our conservative Midwestern capital.
Always intrigued with personal stories and how people make the choices that lead them on their path, I took the spin of filling the readers in in some of those life details. So for $25 per story I learned the lesson of the deadline and how difficult it must be for free-lancers to make a living, all the while meeting some pretty cool folks and making one life-long friend and in turn being reunited with his wife, whom I had no idea he was married to and hadn't seen in almost 20 years (that is a story in itself) and finding my acupuncturist and meeting the amazing woman who would later become my Reiki teacher. The outcomes that spawned from writing these articles, I believe, is an example that everything happens for a reason.
I have written guest pieces for local publications and blogs and was a regular on a web site with a wide readership. Part of my day-job-work involves writing narratives based on interviews I conduct with individuals nearing the end of life, naturally deadlines are implicit in that work. I also try to write periodically on this blog and our MOMSthatROCK! blog. I've a non-fiction project about parenting post-divorce also in the works and more where that came from.
But now? As I try to mindfully navigate this 50th year of my life and pull an Erma Bombeck, "I should have done more of this and less of that with my life . . ., " I'm giving my love and desire for writing the respect it deserves and focusing on writing for myself for a change.
Dammit, I'm seeing this fiction project to fruition if for nothing else then to know that I have done it.
If I could count how many projects that I let school or work or parenting or drama interfere with throughout my life I know I'd be amazed . . . and then embarrassed. And thus far into this fiction piece I've observed the dynamic that was responsible for thwarting many previous attempts as I let myself get distracted by thinking I'm being selfish by taking this time to write something that is bringing me such pleasure.
My message? Think about those creative outlets you've put on hold, always falling to the bottom of your list of things to do because you have difficulty seeing the concrete value in it.
Pay yourself first.
Just as we preach to get that exercise in for our health and eat a healthy diet and take care of everyone around us, don't forget that creativity feeds the soul. You will be amazed at how much easier it becomes to not sweat the little stuff when your mind and energy are being creatively fed.
Stop being the passenger and be the driver in this thing called life.
Reconnect with your passion and act on it.
At 49, I've decided to grow up. I will no longer accept excuses- not a house full of kids and a six year old and a husband who saves lives at crazy hours and work and all those things and people and dramas that rear up and say ME NOW.
Right now my answer is NO!