Since January I have been writing a TON through a class I took, journaling, emailing, writing group, etc. The writerly part of my brain has been busy and full and well-exercised. Most of the writing I have done has been scheduled too. I’ve been on an ambitious ride and it’s been fruitful.
But now… but now…
The school year is about to end, my class is long over, journaling is starting to seem unproductive, blogging again is starting to seem appealing, I am not sure what I want out of my writing group. I wonder if I should take a break from writing for the summer. I have been wondering that aloud to friends, so I am going to wonder on the page here today and see if I come up with any great conclusion.
There’s a certain appeal to taking a writing break. Not that writing is this huge burden, it’s not and it’s something that comes very naturally to me, but it IS something that I often pressure myself about. What to say. How to say it. How often to say it. How to get it right. How to recognize that there is no right. How to embrace the crappy writing. How to be proud of the good writing. Blah blah. To take a break from all that makes me wonder if it might refresh me.
On the other hand (because there is always another hand) I don’t think I am capable of taking a writing break. Writing is who I am. It’s how I think. It’s how I process. Writing is my friend. My foe. My love. My hobby. My defense. My desire.
So with those two hands attached to my body, I am trying to figure out where to write next, what to write, how to be realistic about my output, how reading might help my writing, how less volume might help make room for me to funnel my busy-energy somewhere else.
I have always been a scheduled mother. I thrive on routine, and kids need routine. I have always in excelled in that aspect as a parent. My kids are good sleepers, good eaters, they know boundaries, they know what to expect. This has been good for us during the school year. We’ve all done well.
But now summer.
I’ll have less kid-free time, we’ll be less programmed (not a bad thing, that’s what summer is all about!). This is fun. But it’s a change for me, and anytime I have to reshuffle my schedule I get a little tense.
I am looking forward to spending more time with my kids. I truly love going on outings, eating popsicles with them, spending time outside, swimming, freewheeling it, making plans with friends, traveling, staying up later, and all the good things that come with summer.
So why am I feeling so anxious?
The biggest reason is I am not sure how to fit writing into my summer. Where do I write next? What will be most fulfilling? Easiest? Happiest?
I keep thinking blogging. Either here or another blog. Or even the private space I designed to write about my kids. Something. Somewhere.
I tend to get too ambitious and expect too much from my writing. This summer I want to find that place of peace where I am writing, but without too many goals. What is reasonable? Manageable?
Maybe this summer should be all about pleasure-writing. That’s it. But where? Do I have to know?
What about my writing group? Email or letter writing?
Too many choices, not enough time. How can I maximize my time based on my needs? What are my needs?
I have a therapy appointment today and it is coming at a good time. I am going to talk out some of these questions, and I hope, come up with a writing plan that’ll suit me this summer. As I continue to type and think, I wonder if maybe I need to just ‘let it ride’ this summer. Not have any pressure. And, this is a big one — Not write about mental health. I’ve done a lot of ‘heavy’ writing this spring. It’s been great and just another step toward writing a book of essays about my battles with mental illness, but I need a break. I do think I have the wherewithal to recognize this. Yes I do. I need a break from mental health writing. Ok good. Got that down.
So while I don’t think it is possible for me to get away from writing all together. Wait. Who am I kidding. I KNOW it’s not possible. I think I might benefit from, say, ‘A week off.’ I don’t know if or when the last time I ever did that.
So yeah. Maybe take 7 whole days (plan it of course, ha) off from my regular writing practice and see what happens. I think it might really help me transition from the school year to the summer. To mindfully explore what is right in front of me without trying to document anything. Then take the rest of the summer to pleasure-write, whenever/wherever suits my fancy. And to look for daily inspiration instead of pulling from the past. Yes. DAILY INSPIRATION.
Back to them.
Last summer I made a list of what I wanted to do with the kids, ideas they had, etc. It was great and the summer was fantastic. I need to do that with them again. And as I have done in the past, but have not done lately, is sit down and ‘write a book’ with them. They dictate the story, draw pictures, etc and we put it together throughout the summer. Yes. There’s a good idea. Writing. Mothering. Together. Bam.
Ok… time to go eat breakfast. Maybe I’ll write more after therapy. I’m always interested to see what comes out of my appointments — Always something good. I hope the wonderment above will be clearer.
Note: I have not been going to therapy as much because I have not needed it like the way I did in the beginning of my recovery. I think I’ll always need therapy to a point — it’s part of my treatment plan — but I am starting to recognize when I need and when I don’t.