remembering how much it helps to write…

Although I’ve gone through periods of time when I didn’t write much, writing (especially writing fiction) has been a through-line of my life.

Writing mini-novels as soon as I could form words and sentences with whatever writing utensils were on hand. (And I do mean “mini” – as in 3 or 4 pages of large, fat font.) Scribbling longer stories and short poems as I went through elementary, junior high, and high school. Pouring out my heart in diary entries and journals. Writing stories and novels over the decades. Writing papers and reports, and freelance greeting card work and nonfiction projects and blog posts.

Although I enjoy a variety of writing, fiction has been my big love. Having characters and dialogue in my head, and taking stories on the journey from vague thoughts in my mind to words on paper, and creating something from nothing.

When I’m writing fiction regularly, it does something to me. It does something for me.

Simply the process of working on fiction helps me.

It gives me energy, and a sense of purpose, and a feeling of being alive.

It helps me deal with day-to-day life because…well, I don’t even know how or why that happens, it just does.

Writing fiction helps me stay sane when it might seem like things are far from okay.

I KNOW all of this.

I’ve known it for a very long time. Decades.

But when I get away from writing fiction for a while, it’s as though I forget these things, at least in some way. I don’t actually forget, because I can repeat all the above to myself or to others, remembering and knowing that all of it is true. But I sort of forget – or maybe it’s that I forget on some level. Whatever it is, though, some part of me (even though I know and remember) will lose sight of the reality for me of all of the above.

And then…

I’ll get back to writing fiction regularly again.

And I’ll be reminded of the truth all over again. About how writing fiction is healing for me. How it helps me with living life. How it helps me get through.

There’s just something fiction writing gives to me that goes missing when I’m not writing fiction.

For a while this year, I got away from my fiction writing but now I’m back to it consistently. Getting out of the house to write in a different location has helped me get back into a fiction-writing routine. I grab my smallest tablet – and I recently got a small, lightweight, foldable bluetooth keyboard that I LOVE and I grab that too – toss them into my purse (because that’s how small and light they are, but they do what I need!) and I head out for an hour or two.

And I write.

For the past couple of months I’ve been leaving home to write at least a couple of days each week (usually more often). This isn’t new for me – I’ve gone in cycles of writing somewhere other than home, and now I’m in another cycle of doing it…and as with writing itself, it can feel a bit surprising to be reminded, to remember how much it helps me to go somewhere else to write.

I’m not sure why we sometimes forget what we know, but I’ve talked with enough people about this to realize it’s not uncommon. We know what we love, what makes us feel alive, what helps us…and yet, on some level, we forget or we lose track or we don’t put it into action.

Then when we do it again, it’s as though we’re reminded all over again of what a difference it makes.

I’m going to do my best to hold onto remembering for good this time.


keep going, you can do this {gift printable}…

This free printable has words I often tell myself.

Keep going. You can do this.

I think we all need those words, that encouragement, at times.

If you’d like this printable, all you need to do is download and print. Nothing to sign up for, no strings – and the same is true for the other printables here on the blog (when you follow that link, don’t forget to scroll down and check out “older posts” too so that you’ll see all the previous printables).

The files include one pdf file (you can set the size when you print), as well as jpg files for sizes 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10. These are high quality, 300dpi, suitable for printing to frame, or put on a bulletin board, or use in an art journal – or just have somewhere for encouragement or motivation: Keep going. You can do this.

Get the pdf file here.

The 4×6 jpg file is here.

The 5×7 jpg file is here.

The 8×10 jpg file is here.

Additional printables and freebies are on the way, so check back or follow the blog – or sign up to receive blog posts in your email inbox  (just go to this link  to sign up) to get them as they’re posted.


and just like that, it’s December…

One of the things I’ve said to my friends a lot lately is: Time is weird.

Maybe it’s due to getting older. Or maybe it’s the way living with chronic illness can impact days and weeks and months and years, making them slide together while at the same time changing so much. Or maybe time truly is getting different in the whole cosmic sense of things.

But for quite a while now, it’s felt like time goes fast…and slow…all at once.

Here we are in December already. Not only is it almost the end of another year, we’re almost at the end of the TEENS. It can sort of boggle my mind when I think of how it’s almost 2020…and how long it’s been since the numbers of a year did a repeat like that with zeros – 1010…and how long it’ll be before it happens again – 3030. (Yes, my mind boggles for odd reasons sometimes!)

December is my birthday month. It’s a month in the midst of holiday time.

It’s a month that invites looking back over the months of the current year, and looking forward to the year to come.

When I look back, when I think of all the months of 2019 leading to now, I can’t really even describe how I feel. But there are words and phrases that come with the feeling: Wow. What a year. Have I really survived all that so far? Yay, me! But what a journey in hell.

(For more context about the “journey in hell” thing, this post about tapering off anti-anxiety medication says more about what I’ve been going through.)

In some ways, January 2019 seems like a long, long time ago.

In other ways, it seems like this year has gone by in a blink.

Time is weird.

And as I look ahead, I feel a mixture…

There’s some anxiety, because my brain right now is still firing on fear, looking for danger, wondering when another shoe is going to drop.

There’s hope, too, and the good kind of anticipation. I have my 2020 word-of-the-year, I’m letting myself set a few goals for the first time in quite a while, and I’ve got plans for immersing myself even more in painting and writing.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on fiction regularly – and that feels really good.

And a couple of days ago – on a day that included painting at the canvas, and working on fiction, and going to book club, and laughter and talking and pizza and sweets, and a late afternoon phone call with a dear friend – I realized that afternoon (and it hit me a few more times as the day and evening went on) that I felt more “normal” (as in normal-for-me in the way my life used to feel) than I’ve felt in over a decade.

It wasn’t only that I had fewer physical symptoms that day (it’s true that I had fewer symptoms, and I’m very very grateful for days with fewer symptoms!). And it wasn’t only that the anxiety wasn’t very high (I’m always grateful when that happens too!).

It was the way I felt in my own skin. Something that’s hard to describe, the way I moved through the day, the way the day felt inside of myself. I honestly can’t explain it.

But it felt like my life a long time ago, the way my life used to be, the way I used to be.

And it felt so good.

It gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, that part of myself isn’t gone forever, erased by anxiety and physical problems and broken relationships and financial stress and benzos and anxiety.

It gave me hope for 2020.

I’ll be honest: I’m afraid to hope.

But there it is.


Time can be weird, a mixture of fast and slow. Feelings and emotions can be weird too, a mixture of so many things – anxiety, dread, joy, hope, and more.

But here’s the thing: We can hold it all.