How to Keep Writing When Life Gets in The Way

How to Keep Writing When Life Gets In The WayWe’ve all been there. We’re rocking away on our goals, aspirations, intentions…. and then life…. happens. We get off track, lose our way, and find ourselves some hours, days, weeks or months later, just trying to get back to the place where it all made sense, where there was a feeling of flow.

If you follow me it’s no secret that I have been a little lost… weeks go by without blog posts. Days go by without Facebook posts.

Because life has really really been happening in my world.

In October my partner and I decided to move our family across the country to my hometown, leaving the city, mountains and beaches of Vancouver behind. That’s enough to knock someone off track, to fill up many days with to-do’s and fill one’s mental space with a mix of anxiety and excitement.

But at the same time I started to get sick. Every few days I would wake up with a sore throat and what felt like a chest cold. After the October Write Joyfully workshop I lost my voice for 4 days. In November I had to reschedule the workshop because I knew my voice was on the verge again. Week after week I was sick.

And my business quickly got put on the back burner. I was no longer capable of the extra hours in the evenings, or the long weekend days. In fact I could barely get through a standard 6 hour day while my kids were at school. I was resting all the time. But I thought it was just a low immune system paired with little kids bringing home every bug from school and daycare. The curse of every mom with young children, right?

But as it went on and on I knew it had to be something else.

And then quickly, in the matter of a few days and with a weird little turn of events I learned I had an autoimmune disease that causes an abnormal growth of white blood cells in my esophagus (it’s called eosinophilic esophagitis if you’re really curious).

Suddenly so many things made sense – trouble swallowing since I was a kid, heartburn despite eating a ridiculously healthy diet, and the chronic sore throat and “chest cold” I had been experiencing was actually due to acid reflux which is a symptom of the disease.

There’s a sense of peace that arrives when it all makes sense, when you no longer feel like there are so many things wrong with you but in fact it’s just one thing.

And then (at least for me) there’s despair when you hear those words “autoimmune disease”. An autoimmune disease is a life-changer. And despite having had some weird health things in the past, I hadn’t learned my lesson to not Google health conditions. Seriously. Never do that. But of course I did. So there was 2 weeks wasted Googling, and crying.

What I am most grateful for in all of this is my inner knowing and guidance. Early in the new year I had this feeling, this knowing that this year would be a year of health for me, that a big shift was coming, that I would finally heal the inflammation that I knew was in my body. When the diagnosis came I immediately chose natural healers, knowing exactly who I needed to contact – someone I had only heard a bit about but when I spoke with him he told me he had indeed treated many people with my condition successfully.

So despite the fear, it all felt right. Simple even. After so many times of struggling to make diet changes (I’m a big fan of the sweets!) I gave up all temptations with ease. I was so certain that the time had come. That in fact the time was mine. That this is my path. A path to greater health. To deeper connection with myself. To a true integration of my body, mind and soul so that I may flourish. So that I may be everything I am meant to be.

But that’s not exactly what this post is supposed to be about… it’s about how to write when you’re faced with challenges, when your focus must shift from output to self nourishment.

I would love to tell you I wrote a book in the last few months, chronicling the whole experience. I would love to tell you I wrote daily, that I started a personal blog, that the words didn’t stop.

But that didn’t happen.

It’s been hard to write. It’s been hard to make the time, to feel centered and grounded enough for the flow of words to come. And no, I didn’t force myself to sit and write just because I should. There was no forcing myself to do anything during this time.

Instead I wrote whatever I needed to write, whenever it felt good. My journal received most of my thoughts. A few random blogs posts were started. Ideas for different books were sketched out. I didn’t write a lot. And I often felt guilty for that, felt like I was failing. Like I sure as hell wasn’t much of a writing coach if I couldn’t keep myself writing! As the weeks and months passed without consistent writing, the guilt seeped in so deep that I could barely see my way through to the other side, to the side that might have me once again writing and sharing my work.

But here’s what I learned: Sometimes we write, and sometimes we don’t. And any amount, and any style, is perfect. We need not put ourselves down if shit hits the fan and we don’t crank out a heartless, boring blog post week after week. Whatever we write is what we’re meant to write. If we honour that, the words will return. If we choose not to feel guilty, the creativity will rise up again. Giving more attention to loving ourselves, rather than judging ourselves for not being enough – that is what will make the shift.

Last night as I got ready for bed I thought to myself “What if I simply chose not to feel guilty for falling behind in my business?”

And today I wrote.

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9 Comments

  1. What a lovely, vulnerable, and inspiring post Parrish! It is absolutely true – when we can turn towards the challenges and give it just attention and ideally compassion or love, the creativity flows. All of it flows. It moves….Thanks for writing on this so wonderfully and open-heartedly. Be well.

  2. “What if I simply chose not to feel guilty for falling behind in my business?”

    I ADORE this. It’s almost as if once we let go of the expectations, we can just get down to business. (No pun intended.)

  3. Sue

    Sorry you are having health issues. They always suck the energy from the Flow. I love the idea that anything we write is valuable and what we are meant to write.
    FYI- the tweet is one character too long- I just took and out & replaced by &. You may want to do that as some tweeters may not take the time.

    • parrish

      I believe so strongly that we create what we’re meant to create. And there’s such freedom in that – we no longer have to force the process. (And thanks for the note on the tweet. I edited it.)

    • parrish

      You’re very welcome Charlotte. I think it’s important for people to be open about the ups and downs of life. Too often it seems people feel alone in their struggles but in fact, we are navigating our way through life together. And it feels safer, and more joyful, together than it does alone.

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