I’ve just returned from Europe and as usual, enjoyed my time immensely. Each day, I relished mapping out my plan for the day and traveling around the city unencumbered. There’s something energizing about that kind of freedom—choosing where you’d like to go without a computer or responsibilities, the thrill of adventure zipping through your limbs. I noticed the little things: the kooky signage, the way the light hits the landscape at different times of day, the row after row of buildings from another era. I took in the patterns of people to and fro on the trains, popular dishes and beverages, the scent of cool damp and fried fish, the way people behaved in public. “Civilized” came to mind often. I even reveled in the political conversations I had with Europeans who knew more about American politics than most people I know, including those who are well-educated. Many good times.
My traveling companions weren’t writers. In fact, they’d never met one before. I’m an extrovert so though I absorb silently, the most peculiar and interesting pieces I tend to process out loud with those around me. For fun, for engagement, for their thoughts on the matter. My companions seemed amazed by all I noticed, picked apart, and analyzed. And perhaps a little daunted at the number of books I purchased and pictures I snapped for research. “Wow, I’ve never thought of that,” and “I would have never noticed that,” became common words on their lips. I’d forgotten what it’s like to spend long periods of time with people who either don’t write, or know nothing of writerly habits. Those closest to me have grown used to my musings and dissections, and the constant puzzling. They watch me meticulously pore over one scene, one line. They see the way I delight in, and dig deep, into world-building.
Somehow, amid the demands of family and life, and those that come with working through intensive revisions, I had forgotten just how special it is to be an author.
But my new friends, oddly, renewed my appreciation for the amazing things writers do on a daily basis. The gathering, synthesizing, and problem-solving. Our sensitivity, our passion. The way we become alive with inspiration when the muse sprinkles fairy dust over us. How we celebrate, when things click into place and it all feels like magic.
It’s good to see ourselves through others’ eyes sometimes. It offers much needed perspective, but it can also be a wonderful boost of self-confidence. In such a difficult industry where we must audition over and over again and wait to be accepted and heralded, or rejected and ridiculed, it’s important to recognize how noble our pursuit is, how it sets us apart from others. It’s important to remember the value we bring to the writing world—and others—and the value writing brings us.
Today I am grateful, and will never forget the rewards of being a part of the community of writers who share in my passion. I hope you take a moment to do the same.
Can you think of a moment that reminded you to “stop and smell the roses”, be proud of what you give to your writing, and what you’ve accomplished?