What Keeps Me From Writing?

This post is part of Reverb10, a project that provides daily prompts in the month of December to help you reflect on the past year and set your intentions for the year ahead. I responded to yesterday's prompt via Twitter... today's response is below.

Today's prompt:
What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?

I work on client projects. I work on things that do not stir my soul, that do not get me out of bed in the morning. I work on other people's projects, selling my past experience as though it happened to someone else, as though it's a shiny object stacked on warehouse shelves. "Worked at PBS": aisle 3. Fill your basket with "managed a journalistic collaboration." "Edited a blog": buy 1, get 1 free!

Don't get me wrong: My clients are nonprofits and cultural institutions, organizations a girl can feel good working for. But I don't feel good. Not by a long shot.

I've got the act down pat. It's a role I was born to play: charming, people-pleasing. Win them over with humor, sign the contract, get the work. Boot 'er up and start typing, clicking, communicating. Another day, down the drain.

Do I sound melodramatic? Of course I do.

I'm an artist, and I'm not making any goddamn art.

The work is fine. It's work. I need a paycheck. And I'm proud of my accomplishments - they just don't feel like who I am. They aren't connected to the parts of me I value most.

The parts I value most are:

  • Artist
  • Healer
  • Teacher/Student
  • Wife, friend, daughter

"Artist," as in, writer and improviser (or, more broadly, 'comedic actress'). "Healer and teacher" as in - someone who helps people connect with their best selves; yoga teacher in training (aka yoga student). The rest are self-explanatory.

How do these puzzle pieces fit together? I don't know. But I'm hitting that point I've hit once or twice before where the status quo feels so inauthentic that I make a major change.

The prospect of change is exciting, but my head is full of question marks, and they look a whole lot like dollar signs.

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