From the author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series and editor of FundsforWriters.com.
Writing can be such a sweet life, once we decide to make it so.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. - Oscar Wilde -
In my travels to conferences and appearances, I find that packing disgusts me. I have worked hard to simplify my life to something more to my liking, away from the rat race. However, when I hit the road, I realize how much I depend on certain material things, way more material items than I want to admit to needing. I vow each time to pack lighter, coordinate less, and enjoy more of the journey without a mound of clothes and electronics.
I knew someone who quit work, packed a trunk, put it in his truck, and camped across America for almost four months. Better yet, most of his trunk contained books. He returned from that trip determined to decrease his need for "things." Yet two years later, he had to rent a trailer to move his furnishings from one apartment to another...a stealth accumulation of stuff. And he isn't crazy about that change he swore he'd avoid. He's in the process of revisiting where his comfort level in terms of material ownership. Still . . . his living conditions are sparse compared to the average person.
If we don't move periodically, we horde things, afraid to let go, worrying we may one day need that book, appliance, tight pair of jeans, chair. So we stockpile for that one day of possible need, until our garages, attics, closets and spaces under our beds are jam-packed.
We accumulate baggage for intangible items, too - feelings, responsibilities, beliefs. Our lives fill up until we think we don't have enough time or energy to pursue anything else. We call it procrastination, commitment, obligation. More times than not, it's more a fear of owning up and putting a stop to this accumulation. The fellow above was able to step out and travel, on his terms, daring to become unemployed during a time in our economy when people cling to jobs like flypaper. He relished the freedom of not being tied down, not hauling around stuff. It changed his perspective on life.
We only have 24 hours in a day. We aren't sitting around wondering what to do with it, either. It's popular to flaunt our busy-ness, as if martyring ourselves is a badge of honor.
In reality, saying no, ridding ourselves of our excess stuff, prioritizing what really holds purpose is more admirable. If you write, stop right now and decide what in your life needs to be discarded to make room for serious pursuit of your dream. Now. Not Monday, not after the kids are back in school, not after New Years. Resign from a duty. Say no more often. Shed the guilt that all your time has to be given to someone else.
The freedom of defining your time, sloughing off the burdens, and pursuing your writing goal, is a phenomenal creative catalyst. Your family and friends might be amazed at how much more fun you become with that balance in your life.