I learned something about myself while writing Tree of Life. I learned that I’m mortal.
Health issues arrived, heavy concerns weighed me down… And those are just the issues I’m comfortable bringing up. I lost about 30 lbs during Tree of Life’s final edits.
Why? I didn’t take care of myself.
Okay. Everyone else is fed. I’m not so hungry, I just need to write. Everyone else is in bed? I’m awake enough! I just need to write! When did I last go to the bathroom? When did I have some water? Eh…
I lost touch with many cycles of life and living and lost touch with FEELING GOOD.
After that, I took time to rest, to get close to people again, time to eat and drink. And I’ll tell you… despite the health concerns that still loom, I’m feeling better. I’m writing better. I’m DOING better. Less often? Yes. But the great thing is that what I am writing is clearer in my mind and comes out easily. Less time but more output.
This experience is why I hate the advice: “don’t write because you want to, write because you need to” or “write every day WITHOUT FAIL.”
No. Write in the way that gives your spirit nourishment. If it’s depleting your resources and crushing you, then you just might be doing it someone else’s way. Do it your way and be disciplined about it. That’s my advice.
Don’t sacrifice love, peace, joy, and health for your art. Heck, don’t sacrifice art for your art! Abusing yourself is not doing anyone favors (ask the book characters who love you, and they’ll tell you ;o). I know it’s all “glam” and stuff, and it’s just the way of artists, but it doesn’t have to be your way. It doesn’t have to be.
-Sarah Joy Green-Hart