Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Carrying Peace

I've been trying to write this post for the better part of two months. But I never quite bring myself to sit down and type.

This year started out with an exhausted and creatively weary me. I'd just come off of NaNo and the Christmas season in which I'd been in two separate church dramas with three total performances. I needed a break.

And then the break became more of a hiatus. I did some revision work on Albion Academy, and I toyed with finishing There's No Place like Home?, but really I just took a break from everything.

Then the Year of Major Life EventsTM started rolling. We learned we were going to be parents, we started looking for a house. We had weddings and birthdays, anniversaries and funerals. My brother's wedding date was moved, and we were now both in the wedding. We found a house. I was elected as a deacon at our church. I signed a contract to have Albion Academy published.

Oh yeah. That was the original reason for this two-months-in-the-making post.

I'm having a novel published.

It still feels like it's happening to somebody else. (So does the reality of my impending parenthood, for that matter.) But there are a thousand tiny details to arrange in the next few months to get the gears of the publishing machine rolling.

And through it all, I've felt like I'm still on that break from the start of the year. This is always the fear underlying the creative urges when I start or pause or resume anything I'm working on: that I'll pause it someday and never resume, or that I'll "resume" but behave as though I were still on pause.

For months now I've been trying to figure out why I haven't been writing consistently if at all. Where my creative drive has gone. I've been reading (and now we've got a library card again, listening) as much as ever, perhaps more. But I also have a writing nook set up that I haven't used since I put everything in its place. The problem is me, no doubt about it; but what about me? It could just be the stress and chaos that precede and follow all the changes we're going through this year.

But if I think about it, a large part of the problem is that I go through most days without any goals in mind. I am here to survive the day, to get to the end when I can sit on the couch with Jeana and watch TV and just exist for a bit. And while occasional days like this are okay, I shouldn't be spending every day feeling this way. It might feel like I need a break, but really what I probably need is a break from my break. I need to move.

In Jeana's counseling courses, she was taught to make and keep a wellness plan -- a holistic scheme by which she ensures her own wellbeing so that she can be better prepared, enabled, and equipped to guide others in caring for themselves. I think I need to establish my own wellness plan of sorts. One thing that will definitely go on there is keeping myself to a writing habit; another will be to take breaks from the Internet and TV. I'll probably have to adjust it now and after the baby arrives. That's okay. Life (as this year has been making every effort to prove) is a journey -- a peregrinatio as the monks call it. And while we're told to be still and know God, sometimes that peace isn't a lack of movement as much as it is an inner stillness. We can carry peace with us on the road.