Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stop Deprioritizing...Indeed! (Part 1)

This is a list of Things Writers Should Stop Doing (and again, I'm sorry that you have to cut and paste the link to get there):

Number 8 on their list "Stop Deprioritizing Your Wordsmithy", would have to be #1 on my list.

I have deprioritized my wordsithy in countless ways. I've put my writing aside when schedules have been hectic (holidays in retail) or events have been intense (parents dying). When I was married and had kids at home, I spent much of my time clearing the decks for my family - cleaning, cooking, laundry - so that the husband and kids would be able to focus on things they needed or wanted to do, while I, more often than not, neglected my writing. I often made my writing so unobtrusive as to be virtually undetectable.

I love to write. I loved writing assignments in school. At least one time in college, I confess, I wrote two different papers for the same assignment. Only after both papers were both completely finished did I choose the one I liked the best to turn in to the professor. Necessary? No. Fun? Oh yeah.

I haven't been in school for years. My kids are grown and gone and I am out of a marriage where I didn't always feel that my writing was valued.

Now I am in a relationship where my partner believes that I am a good writer. She thinks that if I need to write then I should write. It's a given. This is huge for me.

I have to admit that there are still times I allow my writing to take a back seat to whatever else is going on, falling into my own old patterns, feeling that other things are more important than writing and need my attention.

My whole life I've been in relationships where significant people in my life have had important jobs or careers. My father was a doctor, an obstetrician. Babies came whenever they came, and when I was growing up, our whole family revolved around dad's schedule. When I was married, my husband was a pastor. When a parishoner died on Christmas morning, our first Christmas far away from family and friends, he had to go be with that family. The church came first. Therapist works in a call center, dealing with life and death callers and situations every day.

So often I have felt that what I do, maybe even who I am, is so much less important than what others have done. This, I am sure, has contributed to me undervaluing my writing. (And I've never said this, even to myself in so many words. I cried when I wrote this paragraph.)

Sometimes when I've taken the time (and isn't that a telling phrase, "taking the time", as if the time isn't available to me) to write, I've felt as though I've been inconsiderate, or not seeing what's really important. Shouldn't I be taking care of something/someone else?

I do realize that this is often a feminine concern. Being a woman has often meant taking care of everyone else first, then, if there's time left over (and there hardly ever is), taking time for oneself.

And yet when I do this over and over I get frustrated.

Writing (and reading too) centers me. It makes me feel alive, it makes me happy.

Starting the blog has given me a practice and a routine for writing. Having a framework in which to write works well for me. I set deadlines for myself and put a lot of thought into what will be in my blog posts.

I have goals for my writing, both with the blog, as well as beyond the blog. One of my goals about my writing is to be more open with others about being a writer, which include taking the time to write (there's that phrase again), and also sharing the finished product (more abut this in an upcoming blog post).

In the last few weeks, I've been more open about my writing. I've told a few important people in my life about my blog and my goals.

This is a little bit scary to me. At the same time, it is who I am, what I want and need to be doing.

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