I’ve heard a lot of writers say they need to write. They’re bursting with stories that just have to come out. They don’t know what they’d do if they weren’t writing. I don’t feel like that. Sometimes it makes me feel a bit like a fraud, but, like everything else, no writers’ journeys are identical. I enjoy writing. I want to do it. I have stories to tell. But I don’t have to.
My experiences this weekend made this very clear to me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still going to pursue this with everything I have. But this past weekend I drove from New Mexico to my childhood home in Indiana to spend a couple of weeks with my family. I didn’t write on the road. I may not write today. I’m still pretty tired from the trip (I spent 27 straight hours in the car with my dog). I’ve been spending most of my time talking to my parents and my sister’s kids. My family is important, and my time here with them is important.
This afternoon I was standing on the deck while my dad was scraping some paint, and that’s when it hit me. I had a stray thought that I should probably go inside and get some work done, but decided against it. That time with my dad took priority. I was enjoying being outside and talking with him.
I’m okay with not writing today. The story will still be there tomorrow, and some things are just more important. Right now, my time with family is more important. I haven’t been home in just over 7 months. I have a lot of catching up to do and memories to make. So the story can wait. A little while.
I hope I can make a career out of writing. I want it in my life. But I don’t have to do it. My drive comes from desire, not need, and I think that’s a good distinction to make.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments. I love hearing from you.