owl in winter

owl in winter

Saturday, October 5, 2013



As writers, we step out into the unknown every day. Each time we sit down, fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to type out our missive, one foot and then the other steps off the well known path and we free fall. We free fall into a place less certain.

Someone said today, about a life changing move he made some time ago, that had he known at the time how much bravery it took to make that move and then, after realizing he was really there, to work that move, he possibly wouldn't have done it at all. He would have remained at his 8-5 job, made babies with his wife, looked forward to a retirement someday, but he would have never have known what it was like to step off that cliff and let himself experience a place less certain.

We overvalue certainty is the conclusion I am coming to. I had to stop and think about that concept for awhile, not just in my writing life but in my personal life as well. I was fairly certain at one time that my parents would live forever, that nothing would change and they would always be in my life as the head of our family. In February 2011, as I stood helplessly by, watching my mother slip away, that concept was shattered. I was no longer certain. Then, in January 2012, my beloved lab and pal of 12 and a half years, Sunny, left me after suffering a stroke, and again, certainty was ripped out of my hands.  Here in 2013, I'm standing on the brink of a coming circumstance that is going to change my life for the rest of my life, and I find myself in a place that is not certain. Changes and decisions I am going to have to make are not going to be comfortable for me and some of the things I was certain of are now off the table.

We become dependent on the routine of our lives, the rising and setting of the sun, the turning of the seasons, foolishly, we believe that nothing is ever really going to affect us.

But as writers, the circumstances that do affect us are part and parcel of what we write and how we write and why we write. Probably we should never be in an absolute certain place because, wouldn't we become complacent? Self-satisfied? Could we miss an opportunity for growth if not for being shaken up from time to time? With change comes growth, and growth is the raw element of all things, isn't it?

Growing as a writer is of paramount importance. Personal growth is important. How do you find the two concepts mesh? How does it affect your writing?


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