There’s obviously something going on with me and my writing.
You only have to scan my latest posts to see what I mean:
- Dear Writer, How Are You?, in which I invite us all to think hard about how we really feel about our writing.
- Writing (in) the Moment, in which I am ridiculously surprised to realize that we need to cultivate the ability to be fully present with our writing.
- Remember. The World Runs on Stories, in which I took comfort from reminding myself (and you) that our whole existence is built on stories.
- On Being Human and a Writer, in which I wonder if life might not be easier if I wasn’t a writer.
- On Creative Drought, in which I do my best to graciously accept the ebb and flow of the creative process.
And, if we go back a little farther, starting at the end of 2015, my selected archive is a string of somewhat angsty, slightly rebellious, occasionally forlorn posts:
- Writing is My Real Job, in which I draw a line in the sand between “work” and Real Work.
- Five Questions to Ask When You Don’t Know What to Write, in which I admit that I don’t actually have much of a plan for my writing life.
- Why Writing Matters (How to Justify Your Passion), in which – obviously – I try to justify my passion for writing.
- Stillness, Solitude, and the Practice of Writing, in which I yearn for the slow and quiet that’s been missing in my life lately.
- 3 Steps to Your Perfect Writing Life, in which I give myself a pep talk.
- Am I too Organized to be a *Real* Writer?, in which I question my “right” to be a writer. Again.
- What’s Holding You Back from Your Writer’s Life?, in which I give myself a kick in the arse … and offer to share it with you.
- The Secret Truth About Writing, in which I admit my own use of writing as a way to control my world.
- Lean Into It, in which a rollerskating friend and a Xanadu flashback help me remember why it’s important to go for it.
Holy crap. I haven’t exactly been a ray of sunshine, have I? (Which is weird because I am actually one of the most optimistic – sometimes annoyingly so – people I know.) Honestly, I knew something was up, but listing those posts out like that … whoa. I have to admit that even I’m a little dismayed at the story arc that’s showing up.
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Maybe it’s good to confront these themes of doubt and fear and an apparent need for permission. As ugly as they are, they are obviously a part of my writing journey. I love writing, but it is clearly not a walk through a rainbow-bedecked, unicorn-infested woodland. I am not tripping down a sunlight-dappled path, picking daisies and trilling cheerful tunes that attract bluebirds and butterflies to my outstretched fingertips.
Neither, however, am I walking through a tangled forest of doom and foreboding. There is no dark past or traumatic event that hangs over me like a curse. I have no deep-seated emotional scars or daily crises to drive my purpose and shape my words. I am not on a mission for catharsis (at least, not that I know of).
Instead, I’m just a “regular” person leading a “normal” life. And somehow, that feels like a liability to my creative work.
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I have no insights or answers to offer up today.
Despite the weekend deadlines hanging over my head today, I took a few moments this morning to sip a hot, cinnamon chai down at my favorite coffee shop. From my seat at the corner table, I watched people coming and going. I wondered about their lives and their dreams and their creative journeys. I tried, once again, to sort out my thoughts about my own creative life – what it is, what I want it to be, and where it’s headed. All I could come up with is this rather random list of questions:
- Am I having a crisis of writing faith? Have I been blindly pursuing writing because it’s been a part of my identity for so long?
- Is the medium really the message, or am I missing my message?
- Is writing What I Do, or is it how I process and share What I Do? (And, are those two options really all that different?)
- What is the purpose of a life? (Oh yeah – I went there.)
- Am I overthinking this? Am I taking myself WAY too seriously?
- Is the unexamined life really not worth living (Thanks, Socrates, for that brain twister) … or, is ignorance bliss?
- What do I really want to say? Do I have anything to say?
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While this inner battle has clearly been brewing in my head for a long, long time, it was a post from Dan Blank (Double down, with vigor) that was the catalyst for me putting these scary thoughts out into the world. So, thanks, Dan.
I hate the thought of being a whiner or being self-indulgent. But, I also live in dread that I will reach the end of my days only to realize that I missed my path and wasted all my precious time. I worry that I’m not being “authentic.” I worry that I’m basing all my decisions on fear and caution. As Dan said in his post, you need to focus on what you want as if you’re drowning. Forget best practices. Forget the safe and the boring ways of doing things. Go ahead and make “the biggest ruckus you could possibly make.”
Maybe that’s the answer. Even though (knock on wood), life is good, it feels like I’m drowning sometimes. Life is like that for a lot of people, even the regular ones who lead normal lives.
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
Photo Credit: R. Keith Clontz via Compfight cc