Hello fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,
My mother passed away suddenly nearly a decade ago now. My father in-law passed away just as suddenly in January this year. I have spent the time since my beautiful, vivacious yet at times overwhelming mother died exploring, often guiltily, who I was, am and want to be. I have spent the time since my equally inspirational and equally overwhelming father in-law passed away supporting my husband, children and mother in-law. This while still teaching, tutoring and studying the craft of writing, building a social media presence, being part of a critique group and even writing and submitting every now and then. I’m sure you can tell by now where this is leading and I know for certain that I’m not the only one who faces life challenges nor am I foolish enough to believe that mine are anywhere near as difficult as many, no most people. Honestly, I’m not fishing for compliments, supportive comments or anything really. I just know unequivocally that I lead a charmed life, I’m eternally grateful for it, but it does perhaps rock it’s owner more than it would someone like my mother, an orphan who had to fight for everything she achieved, which she did and yet miraculously in my opinion stayed positive and happy and with a genuine love for all and sundry especially us; her beloved family.
What does this have to do with writing you may and would have every right to ask? Well put quite simply, something had to give. For me, at this time it had to be writing. In fact since the last school holidays- a family trip of remembrance, both physically and emotionally, I have done no writing other than this blog’s posts. I have taken a break from my critique group as well and have spent an indecent amount of time binge-watching an old 80’s sitcom, ‘Who’s The Boss?’ This, with equal measure of guilt and being absolutely compelled to watch anyway. (We creatives are an emotional, somewhat strange bunch after all) Yet all through the guilt and despite my confusion over the compulsion, I knew, knew without a doubt that it was the right thing for me to be doing at the time. That sweet old sitcom where times were simpler, happier, about a family filled with joie de vivre, who categorically cared about each other first; reminded me of my mother. Thank goodness my instincts had kicked in and that I was actually intuitive enough to listen to them. You see, with the freedom my mother’s passing gave me all those years ago and because in a lot of ways it was much easier to explore who I was in the scheme of things, I don’t believe I properly grieved for my mother. Oh don’t get me wrong, I cried, told the old stories, laughed and cried some more, but in a way I was removed from it, as though I was watching myself. (Maybe everyone feels this way at some stage of the process.) Self preservation had delayed and perhaps diluted that gut wrenching, bleak, aching emptiness of loss… until I was ready.
Still what does this have to do with writing? I suppose it actually has more to do with the life of a writer in today’s fast-paced, media-savvy world. More to do with the need for essentially introverted people (as most writers including myself are) to put themselves out there- regularly and the impact that this can have at times and what to do about it. The are as many answers to this question as there are writers. Essentially though it comes down to one thing; give yourself permission to land. To ground yourself, to stop, to reflect, to opt out, to grow and to regain inspiration… or not. Listen to your instincts and give yourself permission to come down from that rollercoaster you feel you have to ride. Over the past month of remembering both my father in law and my mum, I did not cry, didn’t need to, I just gained a greater degree of acceptance and became centred again. It must be writer burn out time of the year because it’s funny, the more I have come to terms with this over the last month, the more I have found that I am far from an isolated case in the writing world. Why just last week Jen Storer put out a great post on achieving balance by accepting and listening to your instincts in her vlog Questions and Quacks which you can access here http://girlandduck.us12.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=e7bd0bb2c34fc51ea236c175a&id=cf2efef1bf&e=d2ef9c484cu=e7bd0bb2c34fc51ea236c175a&id=cf2efef1bf&e=d2ef9c484c or via her email@example.com enewsletters and her Facebook page of course. Renowned resilience author Karen Tyrrell has also been posting both on Facebook and in her blog http://www.karentyrrell.com
about not feeling guilty for doing whatever you need to do to stay on top of your personal and writing life and to give yourself a break- both physically and metaphorically. Anyway, I hope I haven’t been too indulgently off topic or this post too solemn and weighty. Mostly I hope my experiences over the last month or so can help any of you who are feeling a little stretched, pulled in every direction to find your own personal and writing peace and inspiration.
Farewell fellow travellers
Savour the quest