How do you know when you’re in love? I remember asking my mother the question as a young girl. Her reply has stuck with me to this day. With a smile that touched her eyes, she tilted her head at me and said, “It’s when you can’t imagine living your life without the person you love.”
My fellow readers and writers, romance aside, I can honestly say I feel the same way about my writing life. Over the past five years, I have grown so accustomed to incorporating writing into my daily routine, I cannot imagine life without it.
Sure, I was nervous when I first came to the page, with all the same butterflies-in-my-stomach and jittery nerves we associate with our first crush. Although those feelings haven’t necessarily subsided, a deeper commitment has flowered instead, replacing my initial fears about exposing myself and becoming vulnerable with a more rock-solid truth.
The page is no judge.
No matter what kind of day you’re having, how you feel about yourself, how you perceive your writing, what your word count is, or what the critics are saying, the page will never judge you.
That’s right. You can come to the page and write no matter what shape your spirit, or your body, is in, or how creative you feel. As with any good relationship, communication is key. The only mistake you can make as a writer is not to write.
Don’t make the same mistake I did.
I can’t bring back the twenty years I lost when I silenced my creative half, but I can make the commitment to never again seal off my inner artist from the light of day.
The page gives me plenty of reasons not to leave. The romance is real. Here’s why:
- Writing helped me deal with past traumatic events. My first novel was as much a spiritual journey in overcoming grief as it was a creative endeavor. I could never have predicted the psychological benefit I gained by tackling a tragic loss through the lens of fiction. Free to explore a range of emotions and reactions through my main character, I reshaped the traumatic incident inside a fictional world. The exercise gave me time to process what had happened in an environment where I would not be judged. It also allowed me to re-frame the memory in a new context, one where I was less self-conscious and more self-determining. In other words, by giving me complete liberty to explore my feelings and responses, the process of novel-writing led me to a sense of closure or resolution.
- Writing increases my sense of well-being. Writing is as stress-relieving for me as yoga! Both require me to function in a meditative state, which blocks out the “noise” of anxiety and other daily stressors. Keeping a daily journal illuminates the myriad reasons I have to be grateful every day, and allows me to chart my progress as a writer. Gratitude breeds happiness. Achieving goals produces a sense of accomplishment. Happiness, gratitude, and feelings of success (even the smallest ones!) give us an assurance of hope, something I know we can all use more of!
- Writing releases me from my fears. The act of enumerating my fears on paper is often all it takes to silence them, or at the very least, break them up into a more manageable state. Recording what I am afraid of allows me to externalize the fears, which then allows me to consider ways of dealing with them, if not eliminate or discount them altogether. Fear is often bigger in our minds than it strictly needs to be. Writing down what scares us can be the first step to disarming fear’s control over us.
- Achieving a flow state is addictive. Ahhh, flow! I like to think of it as my creative high. Flow happens whenever I am so absorbed and enthralled by what I am creating, the world around me disappears and all sense of time evaporates. Similar to any other meditative state, daily concerns vanish and I am one with the page. Once you experience it, this sense of unity with the imaginative realm is not only intoxicating, it’s downright addicting. You just want more…and more…and more…
- Writing helps me learn more about myself…and connect with others. I cannot conceive of a better way to learn more about my inner self and what I am capable of than by committing to a life of writing. When I write, I am wholly free: free to examine my thoughts, free to explore the depths of my feelings about the hardest issues I am confronted with in life, and free to express what I discover. In many ways, I am more “me” when I am writing than when I am doing anything else. Writing also acts as a vehicle to connecting with others when I share what I’ve written, and they feel free to share what they have written in return.
Are you desperate to rekindle a love for your writing that you feel you’ve long since lost? Maybe you’re a seasoned veteran of the page who can offer some timely advice about your writing journey.
Regardless of the state of your relationship with the page, whether tattered or inspired, drop me a line and let’s chat! I’d love to hear what incites your love for words and the stories we weave from our lives.