It matters. It doesn’t matter.

Cultivating balance — this challenges me the most in life but then also with writing.

I am a writing instructor by profession. This was my way of staying as close to the craft of writing while also earning a living. But over the years, I didn’t carve out time in the day to write. In doing so, I actually moved away from writing.

For me, writing is self care — something that requires balance. But what I’ve noticed over the years is that most writing students also struggle with balance (from a different perspective). Most of the writers I interact with are usually completing my required first year Composition classes with dread. [Writing is not a form of self-care for them.]

To be honest, at times I, too, dread the writing process. It takes time and it is a lot of work. Self care is also a lot of work. [I suppose that perception is problematic because I now realize that I perceive caring for myself as “work.” I also typically convince myself that I don’t have time to take care of myself either.]

When my students struggle with balance during their writing projects, I used to tell them to “just make time and then just do it.” I’d offer some class time to work on the essay. But that doesn’t teach them how to balance the writing process outside of class time.

Granted, some students just do not make good choices with their time.  But I really do not think it is possible for less experienced writers to magically discover good practices in their writing process — which must adapt with each writing context.

I consider myself relatively experienced as a writer, and I find it challenging to commit to writing at least 5 days a week because of my own struggle with balance. I don’t have to write the next best seller but I do need to put forth effort but I don’t need to push so hard that I want to avoid writing altogether.

It matters. It doesn’t matter. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

When I avoid writing (and this also means posting to this blog), it is because I am being too hard on myself. I am focusing on product and not on the experience of writing.

We discover and gain so much during the experience of writing (and this often doesn’t manifest in the final draft). Self-care often doesn’t seem to produce any measurable output, until the lack of it results in a nervous breakdown or worse health issues.

Balance. Balance. Balance.

As irrigators lead water where they want, as archers make their arrows straight, as carpenters carve wood, the wise shape their minds.

— Buddha

 

[In response to the Daily Prompt: Or.]

 

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6 thoughts on “It matters. It doesn’t matter.

  1. I’ve been thinking about this recently. I wanted to go to college again and I missed writing essays and doing a bit of research. Now that I’m there though, I’m not taking the time to do it well. Two months in and I’m already just doing it to pass. For me, I think it’s the pressure to perform and comply with a set of rules and deadlines. Perhaps like you, I’m being too hard on myself and therefore getting put off with the process? Maybe it’s internal rebellion? I don’t think I’d be good at writing in a classroom setting. I’d be distracted and under pressure. Like you say, I’d be focussing on the product and not the experience. With the blog, nobody is asking me to do it and I’m not trying to be perfect. It’s all about pleasing myself. Writing for mental health is underestimated, isn’t it? I hope you get your groove back. It’s not easy when you’re being pulled in all directions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know – I absolutely can relate with the effort (in those classes eventually) shifting to “just get it done.” I’ve experienced this even with my interactions and grading papers. It doesn’t feel good to go through the motions.

      When I put too much pressure on myself, I definitely get out of my groove. It helps so much to hear how others are coping with this. 🙂 Thank you for sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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