Before I threw myself into freelance writing and client proposals took over my life, I use to write a lot on the writing process, creativity and the emotions that lead us to the page. Writing is so many things. A release, a chance to explore, a way to reveal ourselves without being seen. There is a relationship between the writer and their words that runs deep, and if anything starts to interfere with that connection our sensitive little souls start to shake. Maybe it’s a friend telling you your work sucks, family asking you why you’re wasting your time on something that will never make any money, or maybe it’s writing for too long on something that brings you no joy. That’s not fulfilling the deep need, the private desire that can only be nurtured when you are connected to your material.
The relationship between a writer and their words is sacred, I have learned that the hard way. Since I made writing my career, I’ve written more than I have ever and don’t get me wrong, all writing brings me some kind of satisfaction and it’s more than paid the bills. Though something was missing. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s when home becomes your office, it is hard to keep a balance. Before anything else, writing has always been my home. As more work moved in, it has stopped being that comfortable, nurturing place. Full of surprises, a place to empty all the heavy stuff we lug around. Writing is the place I unpack the suitcase of life into the right room, my world feels balanced, secure, tidy.
Ignorance is bliss they say, till it’s not. The symptoms were there, I was too busy to deal with them. It’s not until you slow down, you see the cause. Writers need time to wander, to watch, to just be. It’s where the magic happens, where we capture the gorgeous moment of inspiration that becomes stories, blog posts and articles in your favourite magazines. If you are feeling out of whack, the question you need to ask yourself is are you getting enough? It is not selfish or stupid to ask for it, it is essential for creative wellbeing.
I let myself reach breaking point before I started to take mine back. Funny, I would write so much about wellbeing while not being true to my own. Taking care of our creative soul is different for all of us. It doesn’t necessarily mean changing your job (though if it does- please do) maybe you just need to say no more and set boundaries. Have the difficult conversations and figure out what isn’t working, they are the changes that will guide you home. For me that’s meant less deadlines and more learning. With the fog of decision fatigue lifting, I could finally see a way forward.
Though most importantly, on a purple yoga matt in Chelsea where I collapsed exhausted, I re-connected with myself. Whatever you need to do to find your voice, give yourself permission to do it. That, dear writer is your gift.
As I sit here in one of my old haunts, a just the right amount of busy coffee shop, listening to the hum-drum of life around me. I’m smiling in deep peace.
And that’s the real reason writers write. As being alone in our worlds with our thoughts and words, is the place that we find it.