Recently I started reading 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. I was hoping for a little inspiration and while there were several wonderful quotes about not letting fear control your life, the one that impressed me most was from Anais Nin:
Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage.
I haven't made much of a secret about taking some time off to try and figure out the next direction that I wanted to take with my writing but a couple of years ago every project that I attempted stalled. I was honestly afraid that I'd lost the passion to create the stories that before had given me so much pleasure. I had always written because I enjoyed the process and was terrified when that enjoyment turned into a fixation with equating my success with something other than loving the creative journey.
Rediscovering my passion took a bit of time and a few detours before I understood that I had put down all of my other pleasurable creative outlets, including cooking. I love to cook. There's nothing like tweaking a recipe, concentrating on just the right blend of spices and ingredients to create a lovely meal that my husband and I take the time to sit down at the table and enjoy. Somewhere along the line, hubby took over kitchen duties so that I had more time to write and a quick dinner so that I could get in a few more hours became the norm.
I'm not saying there was anything wrong with that but focusing on work to the detriment of everything else will kill creativity for me faster than anything. When I examined my motives, I found that I was actually afraid that if I didn't produce something quickly, the reading world would forget who I am.
I'll just have to remind them when the new stories that I've been writing are published. I still keep a schedule and accomplish a word count every day but I take days off now, not just an occasional Sunday afternoon. I don't feel guilty if I want to shop or bake or just have lunch with friends. I truly believe that fearlessly chasing my passion wherever it leads can only make me a happier person and a better writer.
May your new year be full of exciting possibilities!
Until next month,