My urge to create can vary from a background murmuring, like a stream, to crashing ocean waves. When the waves hit, I have no problem setting myself in front of a notebook or computer and writing. But, if too many tasks in my everyday life smother that urge to create, until it’s barely a trickle, I can easily ignore my writing.
This became a problem in the last year, when I really did have too many work tasks to spend much time writing. Writing became a source of stress, and that is the last thing I want it to be. I was also very close to finishing my novel Eye of the Blackbird (which I wrote about here and here), so I kept carving out an hour here and an hour there to get the book done. I did, and it is now in the hands of my agent. At that point, I turned my full attention to the editorial projects I needed to complete before December—and gave myself a good talking-to.
I have been a writer for too long, and have counseled too many of my clients and students about the need to write every day, to keep pushing aside the urge to create. After all, I’m not getting any younger. Since Christmas, my days are now structured so that I have an hour in the morning to write—or, in the case of my current book, to do research—before my workday starts, whether that entails editorial work or my part-time job at a fine jewelry, crafts, and art gallery. (Oh, the stories I could tell.…)
Writing is no longer a source of stress. The urge to create continues to ebb and flow, as it has done for many years, but I no longer wait until it’s reached tsunami strength before setting myself down and creating. So, I will start my winter classes with my customary challenge—write every day—confident that I too can meet that challenge.