Lately I’ve felt a bit off-kilter — as if I was being frayed in too many directions with too many “things” I HAD to do with respect to my writing. But then I had an epiphany as I was alone with my thoughts in my car. (Why is it that driving and the shower seem to inspire my best thoughts?) That’s when it hit me — it was time to re-focus and re-center.
Please, come inside my head as I explain this situation further …
I’ve been writing this blog since December 2009 and I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I’ve done in my life. I have my writing “day job” and my occasional freelance work. I also have MANY book ideas or Works In Progress (WIPs). I hesitate even calling them WIPs because they’re more like Ideas In Progress. But you get the idea (no pun intended).
Up until a few weeks ago, I’ve been perfectly content focusing on these core things. Then recently I started getting all these ideas about various writing opportunities to pursue. And all of sudden, I felt consumed with needing to query magazines; submit posts to national blogs; become a contributor to local blogs; and so much more. In fact, I started to get so overwhelmed by all these writing and business ideas that I began making a list to keep everything organized — and nothing was even solidified yet! I was becoming anxious and torn in several directions at once. I actually visualized what I looked like during this and the image was of me and my limbs being pulled in multiple directions.
When I was close to “freak out” mode, I began driving away from work to pick up Sophie. And that’s when it hit me like a ton of brick — I don’t HAVE to do anything!
And really, what did I WANT to do? What was important to me?
I want to do the things that bring me happiness and joy. I want to keep writing my blog. I want to develop my book projects into works rather than ideas. And I want to do well at my “day job.”
And really, I don’t need to do much more. I don’t need to develop this stellar freelance career right now. I don’t need to write daily posts for a national blog. And I don’t need to write a hundred query letters tomorrow.
And with that realization, I knew I had to get back to my center and mission, and re-focus my energy on the things that matter. I started remembering why I love writing so much. That is to use words and images to tell stories (mine and others’ stories) and hope they resonate with and impact peoples’ lives.
The weight of boulders lifted off my shoulder. I was free again; unburdened. And the visual image I now have of myself is one of me standing in a yoga pose with my hands together parallel to my heart — bringing peace and balance to my center.
The day after this realization, I received the following e-mail from a friend who made a bold and brave career move.
Part of this career change was inspired by you speaking of your own career shift when you told me that when you uncovered your passion for writing, you knew you’d have to make a change that would allow you to write. Once I realized what I wanted to do, I knew I needed to take steps to get me there. Doing [this new job] allows me to develop a whole new skill set… and I get to do it in the midst of all these [creative local organizations] therein! It was a very calculated decision, and so thanks to you for being brave with your own writing career and encouraging me to do the same!
I cried as I read these words; overwhelmed with emotion and happiness for my friend. It was not a coincidence I received this after making peace with what matters to me and re-focused my energies. This is why I write. This is what centers me. And this is what makes me whole.