Friday, July 22, 2022

Creating Your Life So You Can Create Better Writing

From coaching hundreds of writers over the years, I've learned that writing isn't an easy gift to an overcrowded life. Sure, writing can help us heal, can give us needed fresh air inside, can help us communicate our deepest thoughts to the world in the hope of making a difference. But it will never happen unless the life you lead supports it.

So this week's post asks a hard question: How closely do your writing and life intersect?

When my writing isn't happening, or feels stuck, it often comes from a kind of disconnect between my life and the writing life I'm envisioning.

Here's an example, in another art arena.

I've always been someone blessed, or cursed, with many passions. Two others, besides writing, that frequent my life right now are gardening and painting. I tend 3500 square foot organic garden that has twelve fruit trees, three kinds of berry beds, hundreds of perennials, a large vegetable garden in raised beds, and a greenhouse. I know, it's exhausting to even imagine. And along with it, I love to paint--I'm a landscape painter.

We were hosting a gathering of friends last weekend in the garden. I'd put in a lot of time preparing. The flowers were looking good, and our seating area gave a beautiful view of the undulating perennial beds rising up towards our house. One of our guests went on and on about this. Finally she asked, How much time each week do you spend out here? Meaning, how much time do I need out of my life to keep the garden this way?

I had no idea--really. I just come outside each morning and begin weeding or whatever's needed.

My spouse didn't hesitate. "She spends about four hours every single day."

I was flabbergasted. Really!? That's like a part-time job.

Then I thought about my other love--the painting--and how I just hadn't been able to find time for it. You're thinking, no brainer. But I really was flummoxed by my inability to find even an hour or two in the studio these past months.

But when I heard, objectively, how much time my other passion was taking, I got it. I couldn't do both. Right now, the garden is my primary love. Painting will wait until after the summer heat sets in, when the garden begins to fend for itself.

It was a relief to realize this. It's all about choice. And truthfully, there's no wrong choice. Just consciousness or the lack thereof. I speak from experience!

If you're moaning about not having time for your writing, this week's exercise can be transformational. You begin by listing your personal minimum requirements for staying healthy and balanced in your life. Look at these arenas:

physical (health, sleep, exercise, food)
emotional (relationships with family and friends, self-care, private time) intellectual (learning and growing, staying current)
spiritual (faith in self, belief systems)

Ask yourself, What is required in my life to feel in control, balanced, and healthy?

Make a second list or chart of what you need to have in your life, to get your book written. Be very specific:

working equipment?
good scheduling?

Rate the two lists as far as reality. What do you have in place? What is missing?

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