Each month I participate in Instagram writer challenges to engage with other writers, readers, followers, and with myself. Sometimes we all need a little nudge of inspiration and when I choose the challenge to commit to, I scan the list of prompts and watch for creativity to pipe up and say ‘oh, I like some or all of the questions/prompts, let’s do it!’ I have been following #writerfriendschallenge for two months, the hosts have a wide variety of prompts that engage me, spark creativity and help me dig a little deeper with my work in progress. I consider these favorable points of interest to help grow my writing craft.
On the first day of Spring the prompt was #quoteworthy – I am big fan of quotes, all types of quotes, especially writing quotes that motivate me to write more. I have a few favorites and the one I chose to share for this days writing prompt was from Stephen King.
“In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.’
The first time I read this I remember nodding my head in agreement. Yes, life is about getting happy, but more so, as a writer, it’s about sharing and enriching readers and my own life. I get it. I underlined these words, dog eared the page and now have a sticky tab for quick reference.
Writing is a solitary job but I am happy. I am very happy with my writing life. Yes, there are days I witness the ego trying to tell me I need more time to write, I should have written and published the three books I wanted to write, already. Why can’t I write faster? Why don’t I quit my job and devote myself to my passion? Why? Why? Why? The ego can be right down nasty. The truth is raw and it comes down to my choices. I am the only one who can write my books and I am the only one who is accountable for my actions. I can throw out the ‘oh, poor me, I have a full-time job and on-call 24/7, blah, blah, blah…’ But no one is listening. No one wants to hear the excuses. I know I don’t want to hear them again. So how do I get over it and get happy?
“the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed: prayer and meditation“
I pratice mindful/stillness meditation, where I focus on the breath and the stillness of the moment. I am silent. I sit and be still. It has taken years of practice and I am still learning. I find myself more content when I meditate on a regular basis. Like writing, meditation provides me with being in the moment, showing up as my true self, no hiding, just being here and now.
“Sometimes you have to let go to grow”. My own quote. As you may know, I am a fan of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. There is a chapter on recovering a sense of identity where she explains people in our lives who waste our time, poisonous playmates, and crazymakers. I don’t need to be associated with people who only want my attention to listening to their poor me stories. They want you to fix them but never take the advice and continue to suck your time away from what you need to be doing. I have walked away from friendships that were not good for me. I had to make a choice, my happiness, or their drama. I admit I may have played in a few people’s pools of self sabotage only for them to realize I was not helping them and they were the ones who walked away, but deep down my intention of not wanting them in my life and trying to be polite about it ended the way that was needed for me to walk away. It’s hard to break up with someone. But in the end it was about taking care of myself.
Surrounding myself with like minded people
It’s important to surround yourself with like minded people. Kindred spirits. Before moving to New Brunswick and months before the global pandemic, I lived in Victoria, BC and surrounded myself with writier friends. My tribe were people who loved writing as much as I do. We have a common theme to share in conversation. We have the same interests, fears, frustrations and joys. It is easy to talk with other writers. I may be happy with being by myself when writing, but I am very happy when I am able to sit with other writers, drinking coffee, sharing and listening about the writing process.
“When I’m not writing, I’m cooking” this is one of my tag lines as part of my creative life. I love to cook. Like writing, cooking brings me joy of preparing a meal for my hubby and I or friends and family. Cooking is being in the moment, you have to focus on chopping, mincing, preparing, mixing, and timing everything to enusre everything comes out as it should. Cooking grounds me. Writing grounds me to this very moment. I’m getting happy!
These are a few ways that help me with my happiness. I have days, as we all do, where the ego stomps on my happiness, but I am aware of these moments and I quickly pick up a pen and a notebook and write away the old behavior thoughts. As Ann Patchett said, I will write my way into another life. I love this image – I am writing my way to my true life, the creative life.
How are your getting happy? What works for you? I love hearing from you.
Thank you for being here with me today.
Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…