I’ve been trying to keep showing a cheerful front to the world here in this blog, Facebook and elsewhere, but it’s time for a confession. I haven’t done any creative writing in many months.
I’m not ready to go into the reasons at this point. I can only say that I’m facing a challenge bigger than any I’ve encountered thus far, including my husband’s stroke. The good news is that I have learned a lot from that crisis and am using it all now. I am no longer looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve also discovered that I can light my own way.
My instincts (which have been serving me very well lately and I should have listened to before) are telling me to focus my energy on solving the current crisis and that it is OK to take a break from writing. Sometimes writing is a solace, but pushing myself to write now—even if I had time—would be like a runner trying to train on a broken leg.
I am doing is letting go of the guilt imposed by internal and external critics and trusting myself. I know how to be mindful, how to tell I am being too hard or too easy on myself, how to ask the right questions and find out what I need more of, what I need less of, not only to get through the crisis but to thrive afterwards.
I think we all can do this. As Jane Austen wrote, “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”
In order to learn to attend to that guide, I’ve been rereading Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She writes about women’s need to “go home”, where “Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feelings not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from worry, freedom from demands, freedom from constant clacking. All these treasures from home are meant to be cached in the psyche for later use in the topside world.” One can “go home” many ways, including going into nature, praying, meditating, making art.
She also writes “if a woman doesn’t go when it’s her time to go, the hairline crack in her soul/psyche becomes a ravine, and the ravine becomes a roaring abyss.” I know from experience that this is true. So while I’m dealing with some crazy-making issues, I’m also doing my Morning Pages (a type of journaling taught in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron), meditating at every day and finding pockets of time to do smaller projects that sustain my creativity while demanding less time than the writing.
I am not leaving the Riskies, as our new schedule of posting just once a month allows me enough time to do the rest of the work I must do before I can write again. And I will get back to writing. The river hasn’t dried up; it’s only gone underground for a while.
Do you “go home”? How?
Wishing you all the best in your “journey home”. Hope to see you again in due course.
Just to clarify, I’m not on leave from the Riskies as posting once a month fits well enough with my current schedule. I just amended the post in case anyone could take it that way.
Thanks for the kind words!
Hugs~ Taking a break to “come home” is something everyone has to do when time comes and this is your time. Come back stronger and happier.
Thank you, Ki. So good that people understand.
Best wishes with going home, Elena. Trust yourself to know what is right for you. It may sound silly but my husband helps me ‘go home.’ When I get overwhelmed he reminds me to put angst away and concentrate on good things.
Thanks, Angelina, and that does not sound silly at all. It sounds lovely.
They talk about reading as a way to fill the well for writers. But sometimes you have to take the time to dig an entirely new well. You are wise to take the time to do so. Women, especially artistic women, tend to neglect ourselves to the point of breaking. Take the time you need and I know the stories and inspiration will come back as never before.
Oh, good metaphor about the new well! Thanks for all the encouraging words.
What a wonderful, inspirational post–and a great reminder to all of us! Thanks you so much, Elena
Glad you found it helpful–and thanks for being such a supportive friend!
Elena, you’re setting a great example for all of us to remember to protect our creative inner selves, by listening to our “inner guides” and ditching the guilt and worry that can be crippling. I know you’ll come through this stronger and better able to write fabulous stories once you arrive on the other side of it. An exercise we did at my recent writers retreat was creating “vision boards” –just free-form collages of words and images that appealed to us, pulled from magazines. It’s addicting, I think! But VERY interesting to see what one’s subconscious puts together. I recommend it.
Thanks for all the encouragement, Gail. Those vision boards sound cool, similar to story collages. I did one of those for FLY WITH A ROGUE and it was very helpful. There’s guidance on how to do those on Jennifer Crusie’s website.
It’s good to know that you have the wisdom to be generous to yourself as well as the people around you . You have been so helpful to me as I enter the Risky Regency world I have wondered more than once how you fit it all in. I see now that it take care and prioritizing. Wishing you the best as you move take care of Elena!
Thanks for the good wishes, Mary. I’ve been more than happy to do the site updates. It’s a small thing compared to the benefit of going down to blogging once a month and it’s great to have, Rose and Isobel join us!
You need to come before your writing, Elena. Do take care of yourself. And when the time is right, when your muse is fed and healed and loved, your writing will be waiting happily for you…