I’ve had to quit a bunch of habits in my life. When I was a young man I quit drugs of all kinds. That wasn’t hard at all, really. I moved from one city to another, no longer had a source for the stuff, realized I didn’t care, and that was that. It was a little harder to quit cigarettes. A cigarette was something to do, and I always wanted something to do. But it was something to do that left me feeling worse than before I did it, and so by and by I quit that too. I also had to quit drinking every night. One day I was buying wine and I realized I didn’t want to buy the wine – I had to buy the wine. I had been drinking wine every night because of the pleasure of it, but there is no pleasure in having to do anything. Then there’s overeating. I fell into that habit too and have had to quit it. Unlike drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol, I can’t simply quit eating if I want to continue living. And so quitting this habit is really about understanding my relationship with food, allowing that relationship to provide what it was meant to provide, and not using it for what it was not meant to provide.
The same is true for writing in a way, but in reverse. Just like food, if you are someone who loves to write, who needs to write in order to hear yourself, who must write in order know what it is you know, then you must write. If you are here to write, I don’t believe you can happily not write anymore than you can happily not eat. We cannot end our relationship with writing and our creativity. Instead, we must understand that relationship, which, like food, is constant and lifelong.
I meet a lot of writers who are starving themselves creatively. They don’t mean to. They are just confused by this relationship. It is a relationship that seems at once selfish and generous, sexual and chaste, playful and serious. And so they try not to write. This never goes well. They become angry and depressed, they blame others for their unhappiness or they believe happiness isn’t possible at all. Happiness, they fear, is just a story someone told them long ago, a story they believed as they believed many things when they were young. Yet it is a story they crave, except a story of their own, which when found and told feeds what nothing else can.
If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group coaching.
Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence. You can find William at: williamkenower.com