It is always my wish that you might find enough patience within yourself to endure, and enough innocence to have faith. It is my wish that you might gain more and more trust in whatever is difficult for you . . . Allow life to happen to you. Believe me, life is right in all cases.
— from Letters to a Young Poet, by Ranier Maria Rilke
Another good prompt today:
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)
Well, besides work, which I think doesn’t really count, because (a) it can’t be eliminated, and (b) even when I have the day off, I don’t write anymore, I think the clear answer is apathy/depression/laziness/fear.
Unlike Lydia, who doesn’t consider herself a “writer” (though I disagree), I do think of myself that way, and it causes me all kinds of psychic pain when I can’t/don’t/won’t write, here or in my journal. It causes me to shrink into myself. Although it sounds contradictory, not writing causes me to focus too much on myself, it magnifies whatever is wrong with me because I never get it out on paper to let it breathe and see that it’s really not so bad after all.
I used to be a prolific journaler, but I haven’t journaled at all in months, and haven’t done so regularly since I went to law school 5 years ago. I suppose you could argue the blog replaced my journal when I started it in October 2007, but that wasn’t the unguarded, unvarnished truth I can tell my journal. Not that I’ve been dishonest in my writing here, only that there are some things I’m not willing to share with the internet.
Depression and apathy are tops on the list for my fall off in writing, no question. I want to write, I think of things I could write about all the time, but I generally lack the energy, patience, and focus it would take to get them down into anything resembling a decent post, so I just don’t bother.
The fear is about being afraid to examine my feelings too closely. I have a tendency to overanalyze as it is, and I’m afraid of what I might discover if I force myself to freely write about some of the things I feel. I’m afraid that I might be faced with something that would require me to make a big change in my life, and honestly, I just don’t want to be put in that position.
I can eliminate some of these things by taking steps to get my mental health in order. I need to go back to see my counselor, that’s for sure. I also need to set aside time to write, because it’s important — necessary, even — for me to feel like a whole person, I get too easily sidetracked by any number of things, and writing is the first thing to go, since it’s a solitary activity. There has to be a way to find a balance; so many people, so many of you, work full time, have full lives outside of work, and still find/make time to write. So, in 2011, that’s my goal – make more time for writing, and try not to be afraid.