Hello all! I took a small break from everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — but I’m back now. My apologies if I caused any concern.
All of a sudden, blogging and writing and messaging and Facebooking started to become more of a chore than it was a joy. I’d get up every day and think: I need to blog,write, etc., but I’ve got to do this, this, this. If I write now, that will take up the first two hours of my day, but I need to get outside and work in the yard, then I need to clean the house, then I need to find time to see my grandkids, then I need to find time to connect with friends, then I need to figure out what we’re having for supper, then I need. . .
If I put off the writing until later then I felt guilty or put upon because I had something else to do in the middle of my day that was taking me away from other things I wanted/needed to do.
Somewhere along the line my life has become one great big long to-do list. And I don’t want writing to be on that list.
Writing has always been something that I love to do, it’s the thing that has taken me away from the to-do list. So, you can imagine (maybe) how unsettling it was for me to realize that writing was becoming an obligation. It shocked me, set me back on my heels a bit.
So, I decided to take a step back, to think about writing, and try to figure out how and where it fits in my life. Well, I can’t say I’ve actually answered this, other than to say that I know, in my bones, that writing is a need for me. It’s my best form of communication, it’s where I feel free from everything in my ‘normal’ life.
Like many who write, I’ve entertained the fantasy of writing full-time, of earning a substantial living from writing, of being recognized on some social level for my writing. But, like most who write, I’ve sacrificed the fantasy for the reality — life, after all, requires attendance. Choosing family and all the inherent obligations that comes with it does not allow for entire days spent at a desk or computer, it also does not allow for many free evenings or weekends devoted solely to the craft. And yet. . .
. . . when I say that I feel chagrined. Because the message is that if you want it bad enough, you will make it happen. There are abundant examples of people who have made the fantasy a reality — they have put it all on the line and made their passion their success. So, then, that leaves me feeling like I must not want it bad enough, I lack that special ingredient in my makeup that could have driven me to be more successful. Then I start the argument with myself that says that for me family was more important — putting my husband and my son first had to be the priority. Although I actively pursued writing and even had some minor success, eventually, the demands of family and the need to contribute financially — on a steady, regular basis — caused me to put writing on the back burner.
Still, I didn’t completely abandon it. I continued to write and actually decided to go to university and get my BA, majoring in English, of course. After ten years I’m still working on it. I’ve allowed myself to become sidetracked by other obligations, stuff I don’t even feel all that passionate about, but somehow feel I should do, because others expect it. Which, of course, is utter nonsense. No one expects anything from me that I don’t feel compelled to give. The truth is I want to please, and in wanting to please everyone else, I’m failing to please myself.
This is what my little hiatus has done for me. It’s forced my to recognize that any lack of personal writing success I feel is because of my own choices. And that those choices have brought other successes into my life.
And that that was where my sense of writing as obligation was coming from: personal dissatisfaction with myself and my shoddy efforts at creating excuses for not doing the thing that makes me, me.
This was followed by the thought that It’s not too late; it is never too late.
Oddly enough, I realized that while watching Gordon Ramsay’s Master Chef reality show last week. One of the contestants is a 60-year-old housewife who always dreamed of being a chef. The look on her face when she was selected as a contestant said it all — sheer joy and undeniable determination. If she could let go of her fear and reach for her dream, then so could I. I don’t have a clue how I’m going to make it happen, I just know it’s time to stop making excuses and get on with it.
I am so grateful that I have this space to write in, it felt wonderful today to sit down and write out what has been in my head for the past couple of weeks. I know this entry is more personal journal than it is entertaining blog, but it feels safe here, it feels right.