“Life gets in the way of living.” Of course this is an impossible statement – what is meant by it is that we have an idea of what we would like to do with our life, we have a goal in mind, a project worth doing, and other things/circumstances/happenings muck up what we’d like to be doing. Or, social structures get in the way of our creative desires; or, accidents happen; or, entropy is always increasing… you get the idea. These last few weeks,
a larger goal took over my life I committed myself to and worked towards a different goal (than writing daily). I’ve been spending much time and energy accomplishing the intermediate goals necessary to realize the larger one. I will let you know about it when/if it happens.
What I’m saying is I’ve been grumpy because my schedule/fledgling habit of writing has been upset. For a different and worthwhile goal. Oh, the clashing of desires. I’m taking it in stride as I can, and observing the results. I now know that I get moody when I don’t keep to my promised schedule (I include writing for this blog as well as for work as “writing”).
More pernicious and dangerous keep-me-from-writing issues are focus and energy, or the lack thereof. Kristin Lamb wrote an excellent post, “Stress Less, Write More,” on what keeps writers (or anyone, really) from fully realizing their potential – our limiting factor(s). As Kristin puts it: “Your weakest key area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities. This rule basically says that if I do not figure out a way to mitigate or correct my greatest weakness, that it will always be my single greatest limiting factor.” Oh, wow. Right? Right.
I’ve been chipping away at this one. Slowly but surely. And it is work. Hard, grueling, unflattering work. Because in order to overcome my tendency to procrastinate about the things I don’t like to do, those things that just aren’t in my personality, means I have to face myself and my weakness, means I have to face fear. And well, that’s just never been a walk in the park. But it is necessary. And it is good.
And it is what creating art is all about. That’s why I write. It’s how we as readers know when a story we’ve read is good – because it rings true to the human condition and it is honest, it grabs us in the gut and in the far reaches of the mind. Good art/ good literature, makes us work, but we don’t work alone – we’re working right along side the artist/ author. She’s there with us, letting us know that we’re not alone in feeling this way, we’re not alone in our fears and our hopes; she’s saying “Here, take mine. I’ll take yours. We’ll travel together.”
Both of these types of interference are legitimate, in that they are a part of life and they will and do (oh my, do they ever) get in the way of living how we want to live. But we need to continue despite/ with/ through them. I do not mean to say that they will necessarily make us stronger or better, though moving through some of these situations might (that which does not kill us does not necessarily make us stronger, but hopefully we will be wiser for it). But it is life and it is unavoidable. As we know, especially after reading Kristin’s blog (you read it right? it’s good stuff). Avoidance is what keeps us from living. Oh the irony.