Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group February Edition: Follow Your Own Light

Good morning and welcome to the February Edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you aren't familiar with the IWSG or if you want to sign up, click HERE and you'll soon be on your way to joining us for our monthly posts of insecurities and encouragements.

There's a corner in our tiny house that is stacked with boxes. Yesterday I went through those boxes and did some pruning. While doing so, I found a box I thought had long been discarded. It was filled with old files of old story ideas. Tucked into one of the old notebooks was something I'd written two Septembers ago:

In order to move forward some things must be left behind. In order to grow there must be pruning. Things must be trimmed back and tied up before they can stand on their own. 
Then the supports are removed and you realize how deep your roots go.

Pairing down from 1600 sq. feet to 700 sq. feet definitely required some pruning but there were things I refused to let go of. The storage shed under our carport can attest to that. Cleaning out the clutter-corner also showed me there are things I'm clinging to that should be let go. Things that are clogging up my creative arteries. They aren't bad. In fact, they are things that people SEE and LOVE and WANT. The problem is they aren't really the direction I should be headed.

We all have a light that shines on the path we need to take. It's a dim light and there are always brighter ones trying to distract. For YEARS I've let the brighter, flashier things steer me down smoother transitions and less pot-marked roads. Sure, I tell myself, it will be rough going but at least the hope of success appears closer.


Yesterday I unboxed those old stories, let them breathe. I boxed up some of those flashing lights. A few I have to tend to before I can say goodbye completely but the freedom in shedding some dead skin is such a relief. In letting go of what I thought was the best idea, I found - no - rekindled a deep passion, a passion I thought had died three years ago.

Funny but it was still there, shining, begging me to turn around, asking my feet to dance. Am I insecure about this decision? No. Just a little annoyed by what people may say. But just a little, only because the last thing you need when you FINALLY get on the Right Road is nay-sayers telling you what you SHOULD be up to.

Follow your own light, Dear Reader. It's the only way to forge your own path and write your true story. And don't be afraid if the road looks rugged. It's in the brambles and the hedges and the dark forests that the mysteries lie.

Write Wild!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hello February

After a cold spell, sunshine spills across the landscape opening blossom, bud, and front door. I can hear the sound of woodworking. Someone's doing home improvement. The space heater is off for the first time in weeks and I'm actually wearing a t-shirt instead of my uniform of sweater, tights, and knee-high socks.

I'm pulled always between staying inside on my off day, getting housework done, and going out for a walk. The parks will be crowded and the Japanese Magnolias will be in full bloom. These pink blossomed beauties are a double-edged sword: their coming always means another blast of winter can't be far behind. But enjoy them we shall until said blast comes.

Hello, February! You fickle month of temptation. You shower us with early flowers and then, suddenly, knock the wind out from us with cold, Arctic breath. Still, we shed coats and gloves and flock to parks and seaside, drinking in the warmth. You are like coffee for the soul. The warmth trickles down our throats and we bask in the thaw. Then the caffeine hits and we're wired, nervous, unable to sleep.

Still, I love the unexpected personality of Southern winters. It's as if they don't quite know what to do with themselves after Christmas. A week of warm weather is followed by three days of rain is followed by freezing temperatures. We cover up the plants and bring the delicate ones inside. The next morning we put them back out and they unfurl their flowers as if the frost never happened. But I'm wise to these ways. A lifetime of watching the trees bloom early has taught me this: keep the sweater on the end of the bed. After the array of color, winter will be back. Refueled and ready.

Looks like I shouldn't put away those knee-high socks after all.