Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
Have you ever had this thought: I’m not a real writer. I have. My students and clients have. In fact, most writers I know have been caught in this gremlin snare more times than they’d care to admit.
What does a “real” writer’s life look like?
I used to think I wasn’t a writer unless I spent eight hours a day in my office writing and was 100 percent focused on my writing and nothing else. For years I put off teaching because I thought it would take me away from my writing. I put off developing my BodyTalk Creative Writing & Movement curriculum for the same reason. In an attempt to stay “on task,” I cut myself off from essential parts of myself, especially from my body, which thrives on authentic, intuitive movement, dance, yoga, and raw food.
I also held at bay my interest in spiritual psychology. For most of my life I’ve had parallel interests in literature and human potential/personal growth. I read novels, literary memoirs, and poems, along with books about cultivating consciousness. As much as I craved and was nourished by those books about consciousness, I dismissed them as not literary, and judged them less valuable.
I never imagined I’d be writing a commercial, issue-based, prescriptive memoir. But here I am, following my bliss, and my life feels like a lotus blossom in full bloom. Last Saturday, at a Woman’s Retreat I facilitated, one of the participants pointed out that lotus blossoms are practically indestructible—and they grow in muck and mud! My muck and mud have been my limited and limiting ideas about what I thought a “real” writer’s life was supposed to look like. I was so concerned about trying to create thatlife, I resisted my own. The question I wish I’d asked myself years ago is: What might my ideal writer’s life look and feel like? I would have described the life I am living today, which is far from perfect—I stumble trying to cram more into a day than is possible, but my life is larger than I ever imagined it could be. Am I writing eight hours a day, every day? No. But I’ve established a comfortable and steady pace that works in conjunction with teaching, coaching, blogging, reading, dancing, yoga, and other activities that nourish my writing and my life. This is my new, “real”—balanced!—writer’s life. It works for me better than the old one ever did.
Here’s a story I share with my students and clients when it’s clear they don’t think of themselves as “real” writers. (I don’t know where it comes from and I’m sorry I cannot site its source.) Every morning when he sits at his desk to work, an Italian writer, gazes wistfully out his window, down into the piazza below and sees a man, dressed in rags, passionately scribbling notes on scraps of paper with a pencil stub. Now there’s a real writer, the man thinks. What the writer in the office doesn’t know is that every day the man clutching his scraps of paper and pencil stub looks up at the man sitting at his desk by the window, and thinks, Now there’s a real writer.
What does your writer’s life look like? I’d love to hear about it.