Remember that post I wrote last month about #Prep_tober? I was keen and enthusiastic to get going, but then when November came round, I confess that I lost all interest in doing Nano this year.
Other things, like uni and life took centre stage, and that’s ok. I read an excellent blog post* this morning which filled me with such relief, that it gave me permission to write this.
If I am not writing or at least doing something writing-related in my spare time, I feel guilty. When I sit down to write, it is never for long enough, or I don’t achieve my (usually unrealistic) word quota for the day. So I feel guilty or lacking in some way. Enough! Let’s call a halt to this unnecessary mental torture.
As writers, we are under so much pressure to be seen to be taking part in every single writing event that comes along. Writing is to be to us what oxygen is to mere mortals. From today, I no longer buy into that myth. It weighs me down like a stack of old tomes wrapped in Marley’s chains. A crushed mind cannot create.
This realisation actually came to me over the weekend, after spending the best part of the week before writing a creative non-fiction piece for university. I needed a break. I didn’t want to write, after days being holed up at home, thinking of nothing but Deadline Day, I needed to be out in the world.
So, I took myself and my non-writing mind to my first meeting of the Edinburgh Literary Salon on Tuesday night. It was a such a treat to be in a room full of ‘my people’. Writing or pursuing any creative career can be intolerably lonely without the company of like-minds.
The venue was bustling, there was free wine and a buffet. People were animated as they talked about their projects, had ideas for collaboration or met someone they had not seen in a long time. The group welcomed my friend and I without reservation, and we had no shortage of people to talk to. The atmosphere in the room was infectious and I soon found myself wrapped up in my own energetic and indulgent exchanges.
I will definitely return. I made some meaningful connections, and have a few coffee dates lined up already.
So, I’m not saying give up on writing and go out and party, but do go out and be part of the world, meet people, try new things and enjoy living. Our predeccessors certainly did! Sartre, de Beauvoir and the rest of the Left Bank posse knew being chained to a desk wasn’t everything. They needed people. Go and find yours.
*I didn’t save a link to the blog post, but if I find it I will share it here.