As someone who aspires to be dedicated to the craft of writing, I find that it is all too easy to get off track. Something interrupts my day so my writing time is lost. Something happens so I lose the track I’ve been on and my writing suffers. Life just happens and living this second life as a writer can be so hard to maintain. I also have learned that it is easy to get out of shape. Just like missing the gym for a week leaves you filled with dread and, upon your return, aching and shaky, I find getting out of shape from writing is equally hard to recover from and finding your routine again just as difficult.
Last week was just crazy at work. It was our big week-long celebration of our school’s founding and we were all caught up in this mad dash/marathon. By the time the week was over, I had nothing left to give and had missed all of my writing opportunities during the week due to after-work activities and events I attended on behalf of our organization and just from being too worn out at the end of the day. Work is important of course! I have to eat to be able to write (another speed bump amirght?). And I love my job. So, writing took a back seat once more. I said I’d get caught up and start the process again, but that has yet to have happened.
This can happen for anyone. Replace work with family, or add family on top of work. Add anything else to it. The point is, living this double life is really tough. And yet, something drives us. We have that preternatural inclination, this instinct to write that must be fulfilled or we feel only a shadow of ourselves. This is what keeps me going and will get me back on track, in the saddle, or whatever other cliché phrase you can apply here.
Sometimes all it takes to get back on track is time. In other instances, it requires a burst of inspiration. This time, for me, it was a reminder of community. Although I haven’t sat down and added to my slowly growing word count, I did have the opportunity to reconnect with the written word and with fellow writers over the weekend and was once again reminded of the importance of community, even in this solitary art where I require absolute silence to produce. And now I find that my need to write has been renewed. All that’s left is the follow-through.
I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to attend the final Rose Garden Reading of the year at Loose Park. This series of events is put on by The Writers Place. I got to listen to some fabulous fiction, poetry and even a few scenes from a play written by a local writer. The real treat of it all was that I happened to know three of the four presenters, though I hadn’t run across them in quite some time. Their styles and subjects were all different, but I found satisfaction in the richness of their words and in the conviction and dedication to our shared craft. Afterwards, I went to dinner with two of the presenters and a host of other people, many of them writers, and a couple of academics to boot. There’s nothing like some highbrow conversation to soothe the soul and bring you back around to writing again. So now…it’s time to get started. I’m 76,000 words in. There isn’t that much farther to go! I just have to pick up those weights and dive right in.
How do you get back into the habit of writing when things or just life in general throw you off course?