Every once in a while I get very upset with myself and with the world at large for not creating space to write. I feel guilty for not making time to blog more regularly and for not proactively pitching my work to Real Places like a Real Writer, and chagrined that I need to make my living in another way instead of devoting myself wholeheartedly to crafting boisterous little essays on the wonder of this mortal plane.
It is true that when I look at writing in my life it doesn’t take up as much space as I would like and the space that it does take up is different to what I expect and plan when I think about a writer’s life. But when I am honest and I look at all the ways writing is a part of my life, personal and professional, it steals into unexpected places and takes up a bigger share of my time than I often acknowledge.
Recently, for instance, I’ve been doing a lot of writing as part of my course notes for a professional development programme I’m on. That might sound dry to some, but the reflexive and critical aspect of the writing, so like my old academic experiences, has been like stretching long-forgotten muscles and finding that they’re not as badly out of shape as I first thought. Though unlikely to be read by any save my instructors, acknowledging the power of this writing in my life has led me to be more conscious of my writing successes in other areas. No, writing isn’t my primary source of income, but increasingly it forms a part of my professional portfolio in ways I couldn’t have anticipated even a year ago.
One of the competencies in the professional development programme I mentioned is the use of metaphor to raise self-awareness. When I think about writing in my life I’m put in mind of seeds which sit happily bearing all their potential for life and growth and transformation, waiting for the right conditions to become everything that they will be (or at least to have a jolly good go.) Do I look at an acorn and see the oak in it? Not usually. But maybe now I’ll see it more.