Writing when life wants to kick you in the butt is not what any writer signs up for.  Writing should be “relaxing.”

I’m sure we’ve all heard the same refrain: “…, but real life got in the way of my writing.”  I have never really understood the concept of  “real life.” I know that it alludes to challenges along the way, but when I think about the challenges I had when I write, I find that these challenges aren’t that important.  It’s all in my mind.

buried in mess and challenges

buried in mess and challenges

Yeah real life got in the way, and I made a list of excuses in the process.

I might have 20 appointments in one day to rush off to, but when I am motivated I can still find the time to get at least a few things down on paper. (I still use old fashioned old pen and paper when I get the chance.) The point is: sometimes the challenge is more in how we manage our time and what we want to do with our day. Life is daring you to be better. Life is telling you to be better as a writer and person- No More EXCUSES.  Okay, enough with the yelling, but there are challenges that we all face, and it’s going to hurt us a lot.  We need to be prepared to face anything.  The problem is, we aren’t.  We have the mother of all lists of excuses, and we don’t want to deal with the challenges which come with being out there are a writer.  In short, we make more excuses, even when we say NO EXCUSES.

Then, there are the other challenges:  The real challenges.  These are the challenges where, when I look back on them, I am surprised I am still standing at all. The ones which I cried more tears and doubted myself as a person, never mind as a writer. The ones which forced me to choose, to make the jump or to stay where I am.  The ones which challenged me to stop making another excuse. Did they make me a better writer? Maybe.  Did they make me a better person? Perhaps.

I would love to say that all my challenges are as simple as a missed appointment, but like everyone else, there are challenges in my life can and do affect what I write about.  Some are simple to fix; some aren’t.  Over the years I’ve learned that life doesn’t make it easy for you.  There are lessons we all need to learn.  That also means getting a bit of help from friends.  Challenges can be emotional as well, and these are the hardest ones of all to face.

I believe that is why we look at other writers or people for inspiration.  The reason that I am still writing is not because I have a need to feel good about “life” or have a “relaxing” day writing, it’s because when my life kicks me in the butt I have a reason, an experience, to write about.  Getting kicked in the butt while writing is sometimes the best thing to happen to a writer.

papers by laptopFor my own well being, these challenges are hard, and without my writing, they would be harder for me to deal with and to internalize.Books and blogging are the means I have to show my emotions, but also to challenge and change them.  I could have a book published and have it mean something to me, or that same book can rest on my shelf unpublished, and unedited, simply because it was my way of “speaking it out.”  I learned that from a very wise author who once told me, “It’s not about your work, but about your soul.”

I am not a very spiritual person, so it took me a long while to figure out what she meant by “soul.”  Then, the challenges hit — the ones that could have taken me down a bit, and forced me to rethink my life, not just as a writer, but as a person.  This reflection in turn allows me to view my writing in a different way.  I feel I can mentor someone in understanding how to accept their own challenges, and how not to sound like a know it all.

It’s a bit like life giving you a dare, daring you to be stronger, to be better, to be caring, to show empathy, to be different- the same goes for your writing life.   I know that I have found authors just at the right time that seem to be the right thing for my “soul” to understand why I face a particular challenge or not, and it helps when life has just handed me that sort of dare, double dare.