Something Has to Give

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-creative-thinking-stylized-head-explosion-creativity-colors-image32329676I’ve been missing in action for the last month. I purposely excused myself from the virtual world to immerse myself in the written word: mine. I’m selfish like that. I’ve had to accept my limitations as both a human and as a writer. There are only so many hours in the day, eight of which are devoted to a paying job, which allows me to live in a house and not under a bridge inside of a box. The remaining hours are allowed to nonsensical things, like body shaping, mothering type duties, torturing my husband with honey-do’s, and of course, sleep. In between all this white noise, I write.

When I am writing, there is harmony. Life makes sense. Any discord I might be living through resolves itself as my fingers tap-tap-tap on the keyboard. As the pages accumulate, the pace of my harried life ceases to be of concern for me. The anguish or woe I might be dragging along behind me at the start of the week is lost as the word count of a story in motion rises.

My sweet spot in life is when I am watching the blank page filling with the words that come together to create characters, which inhabit the stories. To me it is utterly amazing how I can lose hours in a single evening and not resent it, not at all. Is this madness or some kind of love? I suspect it’s a bit of both, but then love—all the different kinds—is, as is the creative process.

Lately, I’ve given way to a creative wave and have allowed myself to ride the tide. It’s intoxicating to give into your follies. I don’t care about rules. I’ve no tolerance for the demands others make upon me. There are no walls, no ceilings, and no floors, to contain me. Other than my limitations of time, I am free to surf. I am answerable only to myself and uninhibited in this uncharted territory of self-expression. It’s a hell of a ride. I’ve never been more strapped for time, under more pressure from outside constraints (new job), and yet, as productive.

I suspect the productivity has to do with me granting myself permission to do what I want; releasing my expectations of myself, and the works I produce. A little voice in my head whispered, Have fun with it. It’s going to be a long while before your life is right side up again, so you might as well accept this zone as standard. It’s a curious phenomenon when life becomes too cluttered for movement how the pressure instantly disappears the instant you release the expectations set for yourself. In the words, of Joel Goodsen (Risky Business), “What the fuck.” Let go of your own rules and brace yourself for a new kind of thrill. Every now and again, something has to give. We have to say what the fuck, and let out the old, and give way to the magic of possibility.

When was the last time you let go of your expectations of yourself, and said, “What the…?”

Talking big:

I don’t always share the fruits of my labor, but since it’s been a particularly active summer and a few of the short stories I’ve toiled over are available for viewing pleasure, I’ve included links below. Of course, I’m tickled pink to have received the acceptance letters, survived the edits—no story submitted goes unchanged in the submission process—and my writing CV has grown as the result of all my effort.

Most of these short stories were written over a year ago. What surprised me in rereading the stories 1) I had written them (always surprises me when I reread my work), and 2) how I’ve changed as a writer. Maybe the stories I’m writing these days are different, or maybe I am more trusting of the writer within. Maybe in the letting go, I found a new sweet spot. Whatever it is, I’m exploring another side of the writer within.

Doorways to Extra Time, Anthology
Between the Pages Layla Comes of Age

Passion Beyond Words, Anthology
Jackson’s Probability
24 Hours in Denver

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, Anthology
The Headless Ladies

by

I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

48 thoughts on “Something Has to Give

  1. It’s wonderful you allowed yourself the time to become immersed in your writing, and to free yourself from expectations. You must feel so strong and refreshed. We all need that sometimes.

    I put a ‘hold” on my writing a long time ago when I was caring my children–I didn’t think I could do both well, and I didn’t want the two loves of my life, my children and my writing, to compete with each other, so I put away my pen–not that I didn’t write during that period, but I did not “pursue” writing, did not give myself over to it. I was waiting for when my children were grown, and then for when I “retired” from my other work, which seemed just as important then, first teaching, then working as a community advocate.

    Only in the last few years have I given myself over to writing again, and that haphazardly. But I’m starting to feel a rhythm to my madness, and it’s coming together at a more even momentum. I am torn between blogging and stacking up pages in my novels and short story writing, trying to do both, and do both well. We’ll see.
    Deborah J. Brasket recently posted….Wedding Power with Love on Labor DayMy Profile

    • Deborah – I put a hold on my writing because I lacked the faith and belief that I could. Funny how we convince ourselves we can’t do something. I am so very glad you found your voice once again. As for blogging vs. writing. I enjoy both. Blogging is harder because of the social aspect, which infringes on the stacking of pages. I do my best but it’s not always enough. I am still holding down a job in the outside world so my free time is extremely valuable to me.

    • kelly – I’m getting there. I have big dreams and so little time. I hold out the hope that my perseverance will see me through the rocky shores of publishing.

  2. Writing can be so therapeutic, and what a ride you’ve been on. Excellent post and thank you for reminding me not to feel guilty when I immerse myself in my writing. Interestingly, I just wrote a post about feeling guilty for letting other things go while I write.
    Marja McGraw

  3. I love that your writing will enjoy the larger audience. Keep writing, it’s to our mutual benefit! I have had to succomb to the chaos of life and slip in things into the white noise. Whatever I get to, I get to. Thanks just how it goes…but as long as I am having fun, and attending to my relationship, I dare anyone to judge me!
    <3
    Heal Now and Forever recently posted….New Year’s MissionMy Profile

  4. Welcome back! I am realizing more all the time how we need to take hold of our perceived duties as writers … a WTF moment, as you say … and just do what we need to do. I’m heading to France tomorrow morning for five weeks to write, research, have a launch party and … oh yeah … enjoy la belle vie with my DH. Social media will have to get comfy in the back seat for a while. Your writing motivates and inspires me, Brenda. Thanks for this post!
    p.s. I’m looking forward to reading your short stories.
    Patricia Sands recently posted….The little engine that could …My Profile

    • Patricia – I envy where you are in your writing life, and hope to be there one day soon. Until then, I write and submit to build up my writing CV. Thanks and I hope your new books is coming along well.

  5. Brenda,
    This is my favorite passage from your post: “My sweet spot in life is when I am watching the blank page filling with the words that come together to create characters, which inhabit the stories. To me it is utterly amazing how I can lose hours in a single evening and not resent it, not at all. Is this madness or some kind of love? I suspect it’s a bit of both, but then love—all the different kinds—is, as is the creative process.”

    I so agree!
    Congrats on your stories getting accepted. Perseverance does pays off!
    monicastangledweb recently posted….Lightning in a Jar: No More Fun & GamesMy Profile

    • It sure does, Monica. I read somewhere the trick was to keep writing and submitting. Eventually the writer 1) gets much better, in both her prose and storytelling, and 2) she starts to get noticed. My voice has changed, as have the types of stories I am writing at the moment. This as to be a good thing.

  6. I’ve been missing you but I know you must be working on your writing, so I’m glad you took the ‘What the …’ approach, gave yourself the permission to be away (not selfish, it’s only right we take care of what we need) and … returned! Congrats on your stories, B. Explore away.

    As for when I’d taken the ‘What the …’ step, it must have been recent. I can’t remember, good grief. I suppose I’ve been reminding myself to block other stuff so I could focus on writing/revising every brief spurt each week.
    Claudine Gueh recently posted….Special Course: How to Babysit A GrandpaMy Profile

    • C – I am writing, but I am less visible on social media. I know it’s important, but it’s at the bottom of my to-do list. I have a lot of stuff I want to write, but to do it something has to give. You must focus on your writing. It’s part of who we are.

  7. I haven’t reached the “What the…” part in my writing ventures yet, but I’ve been feeling it reach its boiling points at times. Since my mother has been sick, life has thrown in some major curve balls encouraging me to swing my bat in all kinds of directions; endlessly chasing after that one hit that will set my writing over the moon.
    “When I am writing, there is harmony. Life makes sense.” I love this because it absolutely makes sense and is so undeniably true. We can surrender to our writing because it is the one thing that balances out all of the chaos that surrounds us.
    I will have to read some of your short stories sometime and will be looking forward to it!
    gina recently posted….Drunk and Delectably StupidMy Profile

    • Hi Gina – I’ve been where you are. Actually, it’s when my dad was ill that I decided to pursue writing seriously, but it was tough going during all the madness. Hang in there.. The stories are from my lighter side. Just fun stuff. Thanks for stoping by.

    • Bev, your comments always make me feel special. I have no choice these days. New job is busy and all my other time (what’s left) has to be on writing. Thanks kindly!

  8. I think we always make time for things which we are passionate about. I’d say, we both share an intense passion for writing. My day doesn’t feel right if I don’t write something, even if its only a few words because that’s all I have time for.
    I will be sure to check out your stories, Brenda!
    Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted….Righteous or Unrighteous, God is ThereMy Profile

  9. I’m looking forward to reading your stories. I too dropped out of blogging/tweeting for the summer. Though I did try to keep up with reading and commenting. There’s just so much on my plate, I can’t juggle it all. I have struggled to work on my novel for months finally realizing I just didn’t know where I was going, so back to square one and plotting rather than pantsing it.
    I need more of those lost on the page moments, I miss them. Hooray for you relinquishing to them. XOX
    Lynne Favreau recently posted….After the Violence: All Quiet On The Eastern FrontMy Profile

    • Thanks, Lynne. I don’t fret too much about the blog anymore. I write, if people come and read I am over the moon. If they don’t , I can’t cry over it. I am focused on writing other things and in the process growing as a writer. That’s where I am happiest.

  10. Stick with your sweet spot. You have found the cure for the ordinary life, yes? You have found the cure for boredom. You have found (to use the worn out word) bliss. And when you find your bliss you are blessed. Congrats on the anthology publications, dear Brenda! Mwah!
    Debra recently posted….Forgive or DieMy Profile

  11. ****“What the fuck.” Let go of your own rules and brace yourself for a new kind of thrill. Every now and again, something has to give. We have to say what the fuck, and let out the old, and give way to the magic of possibility. ****

    Another reason I love you, you delicious fabulous wonderful rebel rule breaking chick!

    Xxxxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted….13 Reasons I Continue BloggingMy Profile

    • Kim, I don’t see the why of rules most of the time. I think I’ve paid my dues and now it’s about me exploring the world on the page. I am in some kind of groove and rather enjoying this place of creativity.

    • Claire – I truly believe we learn and motivate one another. It’s no easy feat working, writing, living, being a mom. I envy those who have time, but then I think…. we all have different journeys.

  12. I also have been struggling with the demands of being a human and a writer, but recently I’ve had to focus on other matters, like editing, while I put off writing. I do miss it, so I commend you for pushing everything else aside to write. You certainly sound motivated and it is a great thing!

    Congratulations on the publication of your short stories!! :)
    Chrys Fey recently posted….A Book Un-ReviewMy Profile

    • Chrys – it’s always a juggle. I am knee deep in rewriting a story but bored out of my mind with tense changes. I had to switch and give myself a little treat and do some free writing. Like most writers, I’m not happy unless I’m messing around with a something on the page.

  13. I am always so in awe of writers who work full-time, have families and lives and still make time to write. I have really been battling lately to make time to write, partly because I have been so distracted this summer.

    I am trying to recommit, but it is challenging. Fantastic that you have been able to find space in your day to write and create and process. Amazing!!
    Melissa recently posted….Fear and WritingMy Profile

  14. So glad to see your success with these stories and looking forward to reading them. I love the WTF sentiment – I am giving in to that more and more – because I feel pressured to participate in friendships around me with peeps who aren’t writers and take my burrowing away as a slight. Then I feel bad. Then I cave. Then I resent. Must stop. Must stop. Must send them loving energy but keep a WTF mantra and keep at what I love. Thank you for sharing your successes after retreating and much focus, I’m sure.

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