I took a week away from my writing. And I want to tell you why, and why it might (or might not) be a good idea for you to do the same.
It’s not like the timing was perfect…I’m two weeks out from putting on the 13th StoryADay May challenge, and this year I decided to make it easier (on you, not me) by creating a whole new Fun-Sized Challenge. (Have you signed up yet?)
But frankly, the time is never right. Not for vacation, not for a crisis, and certainly not for you to become a writer.
So what are we to do?
We do the things that matter, anyway.
We shuffle our schedules and we focus hard when we can make time for the things that matter to us, and we try our best to enjoy every moment. Because, if you don’t, you find yourself drifting through “your one wild and precious life”. (Thank you, Mary Oliver, for that phraseand the poem it comes from.)
Yes, you’re busy and people need you. But what would it look like if, when they called your name, you had already attended to you own needs that day, by writing your morning pages, or drafting a story, or doing one other small task that affirmed to you that you are a writer, and that ‘writer’ is an important part of your identity. Would you be more free to give? More inclined to be generous? More creative with your suggestions for solutions to their problems?
Being a writer doesn’t always look like we think it looks.
Sometimes it’s about putting new words on the page (I’m certainly going to be advocating for that during May), but sometimes it looks like taking a few days to walk in new parks, and eat in new places and hold hands with one of your favorite humans.
Sometimes it means booking a flight for June to see the family you haven’t seen since before the pandemic started (yes! Guess who just did that? Whee!) even though there are other calls on your time.
Sometimes it means taking time to live, and soak up all those experiences, and use them in your writing, later.
Having the confidence to know what your inner writer needs on any given keeping one foot in each world—living up to your obligations to other and saying ‘yes’ to your need to write—-takes time and practice.
I hope you’ll stick with the StoryADay community throughout April and May as we strive to help you do just that.