This is my last post for Writer Unboxed as a regular contributor. As I write this, I feel sad, nostalgic, and grateful, grateful, grateful.
Aside from a single guest post in 2011, I began at WU in 2013 with an every-other-month column about Twitter. Three years later, we opened my topics to The World Beyond Twitter to save my sanity, and I spent two years posting about all kinds of things, from query letters to facing fears and more.
My plate just kept getting more and more full, though, and even every other month began to feel like too much. Sweet Mama T offered for me to post less frequently rather than leaving altogether, so I stepped it down to four posts a year, and then three posts a year, and now I’m at two posts a year and somehow I’ve still managed to miss one of them. (The pandemic and a toddler ate my homework.)
After seven and half years (!!!) of writing for this beautiful community, it’s painfully clear to me that I can’t keep WU on my writer’s plate at this point in my life. In the past few years I’ve had to cut back lots of not-fiction-writing writing tasks. I stepped down from leading my local critique group. I stopped webmastering for the Poetry Society of Texas. I’ve let dues expire, said no like it’s my job, and I haven’t updated my own author blog since April. Now I’ve dragged myself kicking and screaming to the acknowledgement that WU, too, is beyond my capacity at this point in my life. Even just twice a year.
This is not a farewell post, though. (At least not only.) This has prompted me to think about a larger topic that, I think, all writers might face if we write for any length of time: the ebb and flow.
How on earth do we accept the larger pattern of things when we can’t see it yet? And I’m not talking about fate or destiny here—though I imagine believing in those things might make it a bit easier—but rather the simple fact that every life has a shape in the end. Very few single days or single decisions change the whole shape, but rather build it up over time.
Take my AIS mantra, for example. (Butt in chair is a slightly nicer way of saying it.) You show up at the keyboard every day that you’re supposed to. That simple. You just do it.
Until you get sick, or your cat gets sick, or your depression overtakes you, or you get a different job to cover the bills, or your yard floods, or your air conditioning breaks, or your computer decides to start automatic updates on the day your column is due, or a dictator overthrows your country, or or or…
Life changes. Many of us, myself included, fight that, but it is the nature of existence. Nothing ever stays the same, so fighting it is futile. How, though, can we even begin to accept that with a modicum of grace?
I certainly don’t have the answer(s) all figured out, but there is one thing that has helped me many times: [Read more…]