|Thank you, Professor Dumbledore, for the reminder.|
Lately, I feel like I’ve been planted in front of the Mirror of Erised, unable to tear myself away, much like Harry when Dumbledore found him and said those now-famous words to the left. I can see the life I want and the fact that I don’t have it yet (might not ever have it) is a constant source of frustration and stress. I hear about everyone else’s successes, and while I’m happy for them, it’s way too easy to take a look at myself and see all of my failures in Technicolor. I promise you, I'm not trying to be a whiner about it, but frankly, I’m a bit exhausted from having my head in the clouds, consumed with what-ifs and it’ll-be-better-whens. I want to feel complete with what I have now. That’s not to say that dreams are bad (I still have plenty of them), but a healthy dose of perspective is ALWAYS a good thing. I want the dreams, but I don’t want to dwell on them to the point of distraction or even depression.
Rewind to Summer 2011:
I started writing and couldn’t get enough of it. I would plunk myself in a chair, guzzle far more coffee than was healthy, and write from early morning until around suppertime with very few breaks in between. I was on fire, consumed by a need to get this story out. All dreamy and hung up on getting published.
Fast forward to Summer 2013:
I now have a completed story, 90% of another story drafted, and 50% of still another first draft done…and a complete lack of motivation and inspiration to press onward to show for it. My life has somehow gotten cluttered up with all of this STUFF that, while sometimes pretty awesome, is also sometimes pretty draining. (I’m looking at you, Social Media. In all of your many dazzling forms.) I haven’t been blogging much, I’m very seldom on Twitter, never on Tumblr anymore, and to be perfectly honest, I haven’t missed it much at all. A large portion of my life feels virtual right now, and that’s virtually crazy-making, to say the least.
I’m not giving up on writing——no way, no how——but this time away from it has shifted my perspective. And necessarily so. While I’ve been avoiding writing, I’ve been doing other things: traveling, reading a lot, drumming, visiting with family and friends, hanging out with my husband, and just living life. And while I’ve missed writing, sure, I’m not shriveling up and dying inside because I’m not doing it. *gasp* Instead, it has reminded me just how important all of that LIFE STUFF actually is. Writing is a very important part of my life, but so is remembering to simply live, to enjoy now. And here’s the takeaway: This doesn’t make me any less of a writer.
I spent over a year, holed up inside, connecting with people via social media, but not making a whole lot of connections in my real world. It first hit me when our pipe and drum band was selling raffle tickets that I had nobody to sell tickets to. Nobody. Um…that’s humiliating and disturbing all at once. Sure, writing is a solitary business, but unwittingly turning myself into a hermit hasn’t done me (m)any favours. (I don't pick up flu bugs, so there's that.) And while I love all of my online friends (yes, you’re friends even if I haven’t met most of you IRL), I need to be making more face-to-face connections with people, to be leaving the confines of my home office. Hermit lifestyle is NOT a healthy lifestyle. Nor is it inspiring. There’s very little to write about, in my opinion and experience, when you aren’t actually out in the world absorbing all of the things that make for great writing material.
There is more to life than writing.
There. I said it.