Live So That You May Write

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At one of our writer’s group meetings, my husband shared an article. It embodied things that I’ve read before. We must take time to live in order to be able to write. If all of our time is spent trying to fill the empty page we will soon find ourselves with nothing to say. But participating in life, even regular, mundane, daily life can help recharge our creative batteries.

Lately I’ve felt as though there is no room in my life for writing. Many of my long term projects have stalled and at times I worried I would have enough words to share in this space, at least not words worth reading. But something strange has happened. I am sitting down to write less often, but when I do the words rush out like water. They are rarely, if ever, the words I planned to write. Yet, they come from somewhere deep inside me, desperate to be written. I think this is in part because my busyness is changing the order of my days. I’ve developed patterns that allow me to go through my days without thinking much. Feed the kids, clean them up, read a story, put them down for naps, make dinner, pick up toys, do the laundry and the days drag on. But recently I’ve been in and out of the house. I go into the non-profit I work for once or twice a week. The ideas come to me on my 5 minute commute. As I drive, alone to the dentist with nothing but music or talk radio filling my ears, the stories, paragraphs and phrases fly through my head like debris in a hurricane. I try to snatch the best ones and mentally file them away for later. As I send work emails from my home computer I keep a tablet handy or an extra word document open on my desk top for jotting down ideas.

Even as though I feel there is no place for writing in my life, I find I have more to say than ever. Even as my work, my children and my life sap me of energy and time, they give me something intangible; creativity and inspiration. It makes no logical sense. Why would scheduling my daughter’s flu shot give me an idea for a blog post or sending invoices at work remind me of a cool idea for my novel? Somehow, by embracing the life I am living right now, rather than wishing for an ideal world where I have daily hours of quiet devoted to writing; I have opened the door to the express lane of creativity, infusing new ideas and grafting my writing into my life rather than isolating them from each other.

Don’t wish for an artist’s life, find room for your art. Make room. Carve out a corner, a cabinet or a table. An hour, an evening or a weekend. Then live your life and when you step aside to pursue your art, the muse won’t fail you.

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