I’ve been thinking about how our lives will one day become stories. Stories are wonderful things. I love hearing them and telling them. I love different perspectives on the same story.
My life is my story. I think it’s important to journal our thoughts and feelings and the way we view the seasons of our lives. Those who come after us can learn about the today that we live in. They can see how things were viewed and learn about how different our current situation is to how theirs will be. I wonder all the time how my grandparents and great aunts and uncles viewed the world they lived in. I wish I knew more about the things they experienced.
I made several pointers for myself in writing my life. I thought I might share them with you.
Plotting: What I’ve recently come to understand about plotting is that you may decide how you think things will go, but it’s never set in stone. Be prepared for changes and scenes that don’t quite fit. In this, I see that writing is a lot like living.
Writing: The crux of everything. The living of your life is the writing of it. You must live it to write it. What are you doing today that is living your life? Would it be enjoyable for someone to read it later? Live a life of adventure and joy. Make your story colorful with experience and vibrant characters. Let the people you surround yourself with be interesting.
Editing: Edit often. Cut out what doesn’t fit, doesn’t enhance your story, or doesn’t make sense. Your story, your life, is too short for things that don’t benefit it. You are the only one with the power to change or edit your circumstances. You hold the pen, and history shows that it truly can be mightier than the sword.
I’ve been telling myself that I need to start journaling. I need to start making note of the story my life will tell. I will make more of an effort to turn it into something worth reading. I hope you’ll consider doing the same.
I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you. I’m sorry I’ve pushed my notebooks into the corner. I’m sorry I’ve let my laptop sit unused. I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’m sorry I left the words swirling around in my head until my emotions get the best of me.
I’m sorry I’ve kept all my words to myself. I’m sorry I’ve let shame, pain, anger, and confusion keep me prisoner. I’m sorry I’ve been letting myself get overwhelmed without coming to you and using you to cope. I always have and haven’t been lately. The last few months of my life have been proof.
I’m sorry my pens have been sitting in cups without so much as being used for a signature. I’m sorry I’ve let myself get to a sorry state of not being as consistent. I’m sorry I’ve let life dictate what my writing hours are used for and letting it steal them away.
I’m sorry I’ve let unimportant things take your time.
I’m sorry I’ve been unavailable.
I’m sorry, writing.
I was admiring a drawing a friend of mine did recently. I told her she did lovely artwork. She told me it was because she did the work from her heart. I said, “So, it’s your heartwork.” She laughed and said that she hadn’t thought of it that way, but yes, it was.
I remember my friend, La Rue, telling me to work at what I love and do good work. She said it was important to carve out time to do what has meaning to you and to work at it. She gives good advice. If I did not make time to write or read, I would probably die. Maybe not physically, but emotionally and spiritually I would wither.
I went through a period where I did not write. I did not pick up a pen. I tried not to create in my head. I abstained completely. At the time, I did not realize just how miserable I was. I was lonely for characters that lived only in my mind and longed for words. I needed to create and do good work. It makes life bearable.
When I don’t have an outlet, I feel like I’m imprisoned in myself. It’s odd to think about it, but when I write, it’s like I’m plucking thorns from my skin. I need to do it so that the wound can heal. When Tony and I were dating, I wrote him letters all the time. Sometimes more than once a day. Sometimes, they were several pages long. And bless his nonreading heart, he read every word. I’ve never been great at verbalizing what I want to say, and it was my way of telling him how I felt. His taking the time to read them was his way of telling me how he felt.
Writing is what I do to deal with my reality as much as reading is what I do to escape it. It keeps me sane.
So, do your heartwork. Whatever that may be. Create. Run. Save lives. Write. Be a good parent. Whatever you love being in your life. Be that. Whatever you love doing in your life. Do that.