Weekend Edition – Forget the Destination. Enjoy the Journey.

Embracing the Journey, Each Twist and Turn

pin travel bourdainAutumn is in full swing here. After weeks of blue skies with n’ere a cloud in sight, Mother Nature has changed her tune.  Each day this week, I have woken to gray drizzle and a raw-edged wind that is more malevolent than playful. There is a damp chill in the air that pries its way indoors, reminding me that Winter’s wrath may only be a few short weeks away.

I don’t mind this weather. After the frantic energy of our recent move, these monochromatic days are something of a relief. The cold and wet give me ample excuse to remain ensconced – guilt free – in my new home, puttering through the boxes that remain to be unpacked. The wind that rakes over the treetops and whistles by the windows raises in my heart a sense of wistful agitation.

I remember days like this from my childhood. I remember standing in the middle of a wide open field under charcoal skies with a mid-air cyclone twisting the leaves above my head. Rooted to the ground and looking up into the clouds, I felt like a wild thing. I tingled all over with an electric awareness of something I could never name. I felt connected to the whole world, and yet apart from it. The fall wind rushing around me seemed to be calling me back to a home I couldn’t remember.

··• )o( •··

Fall has always been, for me, a time of reflection, renewal, and change. It is a time of endings and beginnings, a threshold between the seasons. This year, being in a new house, these blustery days feel like a semicolon that has inserted a pregnant pause into the turning of the year. And in that expectant moment, I find myself considering my writing life and reimagining my journey.

Each writer’s path is unique and “right” for that writer. There is no magic formula, no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming a writer. Comparing your journey to another writer’s journey is futile. It serves no purpose since each of you must find your own way. Your paths may cross or even run in tandem for a while, but ultimately you will each need to make your own choices and take your own turnings.

We don’t know, nor do we need to know, where any path might lead us. Writing is a journey, not a destination. You are never done with writing, you are always working at it. Though you may have an idea of where you are going, focusing all your energy on that false end point will not help you. It is better to stay here, in the moment, embracing the journey no matter where it takes you. The point is to travel the road awake and with intention so that you can read each signpost and take advantage of every opportunity for adventure and growth.

··• )o( •··

Often, the day-to-day responsibilities and obligations of our lives consume us, leaving us only enough energy to sleep walk through our “real” lives. My move, for instance, has commandeered the lion’s share of my time and thoughts over the past few months. My writing was forced to exist on the edges of this urgent crisis. Sometimes, it feels like my creative self is subsisting on a meager life support system.  It feels like my energy is all ebb and no flow.

But, I know that such a state won’t last forever; and I can be patient. I can stay creatively awake in a little corner of my mind even as I spend all my waking hours handling the non-creative tasks that demand my attention. As I’ve said many times before, a writer is not only a writer when she is putting words down. A writer is a writer all of the time. Writing is not a hobby or even a vocation, it is a way of life.

··• )o( •··

The uniqueness of each writer’s path is a beautiful thing. It means each of us gets to experience our own untold tale. Like a literal journey, the writing journey never leaves you standing still. You are always moving toward one thing and away from another. Your direction and next destination may change, but that doesn’t mean the journey is over. In fact, your direction matters little. Like exploring a new place, writing is a discovery. It gives you the opportunity and the tools to stop and look around, take in the world, and see inside your own heart.

And then, having embarked on your curious and courageous exploration, through your writing you have, if you choose to take it, a chance to share your discoveries with others, to make new connections that inspire new adventures, which in turn reveal new discoveries.

Being a writer is like living in a perpetual season of autumn. It’s like being abroad and at home at the same time, like always stepping over the threshold onto a new path that leads you to a new part of your journey. There are twists and turns, your practice ebbs and flows, but if you simply put one foot in front of the other with dedication and intention, you will travel far and find much to write home about.

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What I’m Writing:

Sophisticated Fantasy, a digital magazine from Cate Kowalski of Gryphon Piffles

Sophisticated Fantasy, a digital magazine from Cate Kowalski of Gryphon Piffles

Despite the chaos and overwhelm of my days right now, I am thankful that I have so far been able to carve out a few hours every other week to write my column for the local paper. One piece I wrote easily did double duty, also appearing in the inaugural edition of the digital magazine, Sophisticated Fantasy. This publication is the work a client who I wish lived closer because we would definitely get together for tea and long chats. As it is, each time we get on the phone to talk shop, our conversations veer way off course into exciting but tangential territory. The good news is that these side trips invariably deliver important insights that are helping her to reimagine her fantasy boutique at Gryphon Piffles.

In the meantime, she has taken on the not-so-small challenge of launching her own digital magazine. My first piece for her (I am sure there will be others) is a short essay on Mabon, the pagan holiday of thanksgiving, reflection, and balance that is celebrated on the fall equinox.  I hope you’ll give it a read, and maybe also explore some of the other pieces in the September issue. Enjoy!

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What I’m Reading:

book yes pleaseAs I mentioned last week, I had a lot of time while preparing for our move (cleaning, painting kitchen cabinets, packing) to enjoy the pleasure of listening to audio books while engaged in manual labor. Another of the books I read in this way is Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes, Please.

I’m not usually a big fan of memoirs, but I was intrigued by this one because Amy Poehler, along with her frequent partner in crime, Tina Fey, are two women whom I find fascinating. They are smart, funny, and irreverent, but also seem like very grounded individuals with good hearts. Yes, Please demonstrated exactly this about Poehler in a way that made me wish we could be friends.

The book is a series of essays, some of which feature cameos by a range of characters including Poehler’s parents, Patrick Stewart, Carol Burnett, and Mike Schur. The chapters feature titles like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon,” and – my favorite – “The Robots Will Kill Us All.”

Surprisingly sweet in places (a passage she wrote about taking her sons out to see the moon nearly brought me to tears), this book was a delight to listen to. It felt like sitting down at the bar for a drink with a really cool chick and having one of those rare, unplanned conversations that make you feel better about humanity in general.

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And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

Finally, a quote for the week:

pin journey to be

Welcome to your writer’s journey. I hope you enjoy each step and each side adventure and each surprise ending. 
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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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43 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – Forget the Destination. Enjoy the Journey.

  1. I agree–it most certainly is about enjoying the journey!
    First I loved to read, and that soon melted over into a love for words and writing.
    How did you become a content marketer?
    Sounds like interesting…..wonder if there is room out there for one more. 🙂

  2. We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path.
    Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind… there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey.
    Steve Maraboli

    • Thank you very much. I am glad if it brought you some satisfaction and appreciate you saying so.

      And – no worries – I doubt I could stop writing if I tried.

      🙂

  3. I have to remind myself every day to stop and enjoy the moment. We appear to ve moving so fast anymore. People want everything right now, they don’t want to wait. It’s a bit sad really. If we could just remember to stop and enjoy the moment life could be so much sweeter. Great Post!

    • Yes. Enjoying the journey applies to so much in life beyond writing. We have become a culture that craves (demands, expects) instant gratification all the time. It’s a terrible way to live because our expectations are always pushing us to be in the next moment instead of being in the present moment. It’s a tough cycle to break, but one that I think both the process of writing and the process of reading help us conquer – slowing us down just enough that we have to be in the now.

      Thanks for coming by!

      • Definitely. I love to read and always have. I tried to pass this on to my kids as well. I guess 2 out of 4 isn’t too bad…lol. As far as writing goes I’m not the best at it but I’m learning more every day.

      • I know what you mean. My daughter has an on-again-off-again relationship with reading. Few things make me happier than to see her curled up somewhere, completely engrossed in a book; but I have to be patient because those moments are few and far between. 😉

  4. Jamie ❤️ I love your work, I truly do. It brings me happiness and a feeling of connectedness. I know that you feel like your ideal writing life is not what you are doing right now, but let me tell you, your writing makes a difference, right now.
    I love Autumn too, although I suspect my experience of Autumn is different than yours. It is a rest, a respite from the relentless extroversion of summer. This line that you wrote: “Being a writer is like living in a perpetual season of autumn. It’s like being abroad and at home at the same time” omg so true. I have just been away for a week, and my daily journal practice kept me grounded within myself, wherever I was.
    Also, that article on time being a feminist issue…yes! Soooo true. I have put a lot of work into overcoming this archetype of the woman as drudge dedicating her life to other people, existing on scraps of time and wondering why we are so exhausted and resentful all the time. We have to change things, it’s us. Nobody will give us our lives back – we have to take them back. I feel kinda strongly about this, can you tell? Lol 🙂

    • Thank you, Sara. You are such an observant and empathetic person. I am grateful for the reminder that my writing (even if it isn’t the writing I dream of doing) does make a difference, right now (not least of all, to me).

      I am, after all kinds of life craziness, finally starting to inch my way back toward my daily journal practice. I have missed it SO much, and can understand how your practice served to ground you even as you traveled and explored and reveled in new experiences. It’s a lovely idea to think that just by carrying a journal, we can take our “home” with us. Thanks for that.

      I’m so glad you liked that piece about time being a feminist issue. Your trip seems to me to be an inspiring illustration of how a woman can (and should!) take back some of her time for herself – intentionally, gently but firmly, joyously. You’re so right that it’s something we have to do for ourselves. No one will return our time to us. We must take it. And it’s okay to do that. It’s more than ok. It’s our responsibility to put our time to the highest use, whatever that is.

      Always so great to catch up. Hope your week is off to a great start! 🙂

  5. There is something refreshing about dropping by on this site when I have the time. So much reflects points to ponder etc. I love also the reality that while you are entering your ‘fall, cold down time’ we in the southern hemisphere are entering the months of brilliant sunshine, Spring that can be gentle or roars in with storms, bushfires and much rain. THEN Summer with its unexpected blazing possibilities. Your writing balances what I am journeying towards as far as seasons but reflects always the human condition.

    • Thank you so much, Faye, for such a lovely and poetic comment.
      I love to think of the way we all exist here on the planet, but sometimes at opposite ends of the seasonal spectrum. It brings, as you said, a sense of balance; and also a sense of connection.

      I’m so glad you had time to come by and visit. Always nice to see you and share some time reflecting.

  6. Every time I read one of your posts I feel energized to continue on my journey as a writer as well as a human being. You give such insightful inspiration into why we are here and what the reason is for our existence. As I contemplate my move to my new apartment on November 1, I like the idea of listening to an audiobook while I pack. The Amy Poehler book looks great. Thanks again for providing me with wonderful inspiration to keep moving ahead!

    • Oh! Good luck with your move. May the process be smooth and as painless as possible. I wish you ease and the unfolding of great new possibilities.

      I do hope you find some good audio books to listen to, and if you end up choosing Amy Poehler’s memoir, I’d love to hear what you think.

      Thanks for coming by and for such kind words. They inspire me in turn. It’s a great “circle of inspiration.”
      😉

  7. Hey, every word of your is so beautiful and like you said, one shouldn’t compare works and keep going on this journey that never stops. Writing is a destination I feel where the journey is limitless. Thanks for this post:)

  8. Love this post. Writers rarely stop to enjoy the journey. We are so absorbed in the process and the obstacles, we are blind to the journey. It isn’t until we reach our goals that we actually stop to look back on our efforts and sacrifices. Anxious to read more.
    thelonelyauthorblog

    • You’re so right.
      I’m a pretty lousy skier, but I still try to get out on the slopes now and again. Each “run” (more like a crawl, really) is an challenging process that keeps me totally focused on the next turn, the next bump, the next whatever might separate me from my skis. It’s not until I get to the bottom of a section and turn around to look back up and what I just came down that I realize, “Wow! I did that!”

      Writing often feels like that to me.
      We should stop to look at what we’re doing in the larger context more often. Maybe then we wouldn’t beat ourselves up so much.

      🙂

  9. Pingback: Weekend Edition- Not What I Meant to Write Plus Memoir Musings | Live to Write – Write to Live

  10. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Battling the Writer’s Inner Critic | Live to Write – Write to Live

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