Sometimes a Writer Has to Live

Wow, this has been some year.

Sickness, death, destruction. Problems, big and small.

Sometimes I feel like I’m my own firehouse. I’m putting out fires left and right. I’m rescuing cats out of trees and running my own EMS station, 24/7/365. (Yup, no rest on major holidays either.) I’m running from one thing to another, and while I’m in the car, calling on yet another problem. (Blu tooth, no hand-held for me. And I never text and drive.) When I fall into bed, I’m exhausted. Sleep comes too easy.

No wonder my hair is gray.

Yes, I appear to be a maniac on steroids and Ritalin. But here is a Real Truth: People are not wired to do everything. There is no such thing as a super-mom, a super-woman, or a super-person, except perhaps in the world of Marvel.

Yeah, yeah, I bought into that super-woman stuff years ago when my kids were little. I tried my best. I practically lived in my car with those kids, racing from one event to another. After a while, the frustration increases as your sense of self decreases. Things boil and bubble until there’s an explosion (or implosion).

I’m pretty old and not the smartest, but I have learned one thing: Living is all about moderation.

Living is also not about beating yourself up. There are plenty of opportunities out there to get beaten up by outside sources. 🙂

It’s hard, but I try not to beat myself up about anything, including writing/not writing. Some of the time, I’m the most prolific person out there (or it might seem so because I never throw anything away!). But most times I’m just plain *lazy* – i.e. otherwise consumed by some other time sucking activity. Sometimes (like in this last year), I’m just too depressed/angry/worried to write.

Some of the creative out there think they must be doing something creative every single day of the year in order to be considered an artist. I’ve heard some claim that if you cannot play music every day, you’re not a real musician. The thought is that you breathe, so you’re a person, and you have to breathe all the time, ergo you must be playing every day in order to be considered ‘serious.’

Hold your horses, Mozart. What about living?

(Speaking of Mozart, although the man was a genius, the guy was a paid hack. Had to do it in order to survive, and he did a horrible job of it.)

This weekend, I opened my inbox with my Medium daily email and find this lovely post by one of my favorite authors (Michelle Richmond) regarding not writing.

Thank goodness! At last someone admonishing would-be writers out there to go to your son’s ball game or watch a movie with your husband! In my case, it’s stripping and refinishing old doors, digging up my yard, wire weaving, or planting potatoes.

Creating art should not be a chore. Your mind has to be clear and open. Yes, you need your butt to be in a chair (although the thought of a standing work station is very intriguing), but the true artist is creating in her head all the time. As I’m out there pulling up bindweed and dandelions, I’m thinking of plot twists and back story. The Notes section of my iPhone is full of tidbits of information, things I will use later on when the dust settles.

We are so busy in this modern world, attacked by Internet and TV and pretty flashes of content, that we have forgotten how to live. Writers need to live in order for the words to flow and the stories to surface. That’s why I’ve laid off the Twitter and the Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes you have to be you, not the content.

Which brings me back to the video I posted at the top of this, Words, by the BeeGees. In my 6th grade mind, I felt the pop group was telling me to write a story.

Because it’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away.



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