Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sometimes Giving Up is the Right Thing To Do IWSG Nov 2016

Yeah, interesting story about my post title. Over the course of the last month I threw in the towel. Not permanently, but I decided it was time to choose my family over my writing dreams. Here's how that happened, followed by surprises for me.

I was sitting in the women's class at church on the second Sunday of October listening to a lesson on commitment. The words and questions the teacher asked have already faded from my memory. However, the discussion I had with myself during that hour is still very clear. I asked myself what I was truly committed to. What was I willing to live and die for? I took a deep look inside and didn't like what I found.

I wasn't committed to my writing. There hasn't been much of it for a long time in spite of the fact I still crave the release of moving the stories crowding my brain to the page. I can't say I'm committed if I've been trying so hard to forget my need to write in favor of something else--my family.

I wasn't 100% committed to my family either though. Over the last few years I've grown to resent them for not understanding the need to chase my dreams, for requiring so much of my attention. In fact, a lot of the soul sucking death pains I feel connected to substitute teaching are simply because my family needs me to do it. For 17 years I was a stay at home mom. I was in charge of my daily schedule and able to take care of my home and family and still find the time to write. My world wasn't perfect, but I felt happy and looked forward to finding a way to make it all work. Adding a "real" job smashed all that to smithereens.

Sitting in that room, fighting tears, I realized I wasn't committed to anything really. Not even myself. I finally understood that was probably the part of me that I was missing. I used to feel committed to lots of things. So, I made a decision. Life is hard right now. It's a bit on the crazy side, actually, so I decided to commit myself to just one thing. My family.

I would take all the jobs that came my way and stop avoiding the call center calls. I would do it gladly knowing I was helping my family in a way that they needed me to. Even if it meant not going to the writer's retreat. Even if it meant putting away the writer side of myself.

Well, I did that and the strangest thing happened. That next week I didn't get any calls, but I still missed the retreat. Instead, I stayed home and cleaned my house. Something that I haven't done in months! It felt good. My husband noticed and it helped him feel better about things. We felt like we were in this together again. I liked that feeling a lot. It was good, but even better things were in store.

The next week I worked a couple of days at the high school. I took my computer with me. Just in case. And you know what? The last two weeks of the month I've been able to write a little. I don't force it, but it's like all the weight has lifted and I can write for me again.

Here's the weirdest, and maybe coolest thing. Last Friday I was on one of my apps and got into a conversation with someone who loves dragons. I wasn't trying to sell books, but they came up and that person bought 3 of mine! Monday, they contacted me and we had a fun discussion.

Who knew that letting go was exactly what I needed?

So, if you are stuck, ask yourself if it's time to quit. For the moment I don't feel like I'm fighting against who I want to be and who my family needs me to be and I'm getting a bit of both.

Well, this post got rather long, so I won't answer this month's question, but here it is in case you want to answer it in the comments!

QUESTION: What's your favorite aspect of being a writer?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!  Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG