It’s taken me all summer to get around to a new post. I’d like to tell you it’s because I’ve been wonderfully productive in the garden, but it’s not. I’d also love to explain how I’ve been so completely immersed in writing my book that I couldn’t bother with anything as mundane as a blog. Also not the reason. I could get all sanctimonious about spending quality time with my family, outdoors and away from technology, during the precious summer months. I’ve enjoyed some lazy lake days to be sure, and I’ve made some progress on the book and the yard, but the real reason I’ve been avoiding you, dear reader, is most easily described as guilt.
I took a job. A day job. A not-writing job.
It’s a hard thing to admit, mostly because there are so many voices telling me that if I work hard enough I’ll succeed. That I need to sacrifice for my dream. That if I really believe in what I’m doing, I’ll never give up.
And taking a full time gig in a completely other line of work looks, and kind of feels like, giving up.
But it’s not. It’s really not. And even though that ‘but’ might sound like whiny self justification, it’s a truth I have thought all the way through this summer.
I am working hard. At a lot of things, not just writing. And I am making sacrifices, some of them in order to write. And I do believe in what I’m doing, but I also believe in my family and their needs.
It’s true that my heart has been torn to pieces this summer, because working full time translates for my soul as simply “not writing.” But it is also true that I am a writer, and I will always write, even if my responsibilities of the moment prevent me from devoting as much time to it as I would like.
So here’s my little analogy. When you knit any garment other than a big long rectangle scarf, say a sweater for instance, you should put the completed pieces through a process called blocking. This is done by training the pieces into their desired permanent form, usually by pinning them, stretched to shape, on a flat board, for a period of time. You can skip this step, but it tends to result in wonky sweaters with edges that won’t sit right. Taking this time to properly prepare the garment results in a more beautiful, wearable item.
I kind of feel like I’m in blocking stage. I’m stretched somewhere that’s a little uncomfortable, and I feel like I’m just waiting around for the important building part to happen. But it’s preparatory, probably in ways I can’t even foresee yet, and it’s going to mean a more comfortable, beautiful life when I’m through it.
And each of us is building a different sweater, too. A custom built, just our size one.
So I’m trying to let go of the voices. Each of us has their own definition of “dream” and “success” and “sacrifice” anyway. Each of us walks a different road. Please don’t judge me if it seems to you I’m walking away. Because in my mind, I’m walking forward.