I haven’t sent out a December newsletter.
Nor a January one.
Instead, I gave myself permission to put myself first and act in a few well chosen directions that are meant to make me feel good. In between all of that moving forward, I found myself, although for a long time (for most of last year), it hadn’t seemed like I ever would.
I traveled to Cambridge for the Open Door Day of a part-time MSt in Creative Writing. I started working on a book-long non-fictional project. I sent out grad school applications. I signed up for Sarah Selecky’s Writing School Retreat at the AWP conference in Tampa, Florida (keynote speaker: Man Booker Prize Winner George Saunders) and started planning my trip to the US. I worked and sent out job applications. I landed a job, a dream job, something different than what I’ve done so far.
I finished a poetry chapbook and sent it to two contests. I fell in and out of love. I got sick and healthy again. I spent time with my ageing parents. I found new ways to cope with the ageing part.
I cut my hair really short. I started reading in the morning instead of doing my hair. I fell in love with life, again, and this time I know it’s going to be a two-sided thing. Because I have finally learnt to stop giving my time to people who don’t offer me theirs.
I learnt to put my own needs at the centre of that strange triangle that’s never fully balanced: energy – time – money. Mine has been off for a long time, especially on the energy and time part. It was high time I focused more on both, as a way of practising lasting self-compassion.
There’s a time to write and there’s a time to live instead of talking about writing.
So don’t beat yourself up. You can’t do it all at the same time. Focus on how you want to feel now and one year from now. Then choose one thing that you’ll do to feel the way you wish, something that step by step will take you there. Focus on what you wish to feel month by month. Then go for it.
And one day, maybe you will write about it, or maybe you won’t.
Live it. Own it. Focus on what feels good.
I’m currently giving myself permission to live and write, rather than talk/write about it. You may be hearing less often from me here, and potentially more in the bigger world; there will be silence in between.
I’m working on a book-long non-fiction project.
And I’d rather write it than write about it.