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.