Happiness is not having what you want; it is wanting what you have.
For almost twenty-five years I’ve had the dream of being a writer. There have been two main challenges to realizing this dream. One of the biggest challenges has been my fear of writing publicly. As long as I wrote only in the privacy of my own journal, I was comfortable. But as soon as I thought about writing a book, I would start to shake and have butterflies in my stomach. It took me a long time to figure out why – early childhood programming of “Don’t let ‘em see you sweat” kind of mentality, along with many other associated fears. I learned at a young age not to have a voice, and it has taken a very long time and much effort to find it again. Sometimes I wonder if I ever had it.
My second challenge has been getting at the business of writing. Because of my fears, I always managed to create distractions – too tired, needed to mow the lawn, had to work to pay bills, etc. Life just seemed easier when I avoided my dream, but after years of deceiving myself, I finally had enough of the procrastination and negative internal dialogue. I knew I had to face my fear and write anyway, for not doing so created much anxiety and disappointment. I also needed to create a lifestyle for myself where my distractions were minimal and where I could live cheaply without working, at least for a while. For no other reason, that is what brought me to central Arizona.
When a door doesn’t want to open, look for another one to walk through. One of the first things I wanted to do after arriving in Sedona in November was to join a writers’ group for support and inspiration. I found the name of such a group on the internet, but there was no contact information from the internet source. Every time I searched for leads and followed through, it was a dead end. The coffee shop where the group supposedly met each week didn’t even know anything about the group. Weeks went by. I even showed up at the coffee shop at the time they were supposed to be meeting to find no one there. It was an obvious closed door. As I left the coffee shop one day, I picked up the latest edition of the “Red Rock News” newspaper and found the name of another group, a name that I hadn’t seen before. Later that day I called the contact number, and by the next morning, I was sitting round table with a small group of local writers. I finally found my writing community.
Human nature being what it is, I occasionally continue to pull myself away from writing. I tell myself that the trailer is too cold to write, that there is too much noise in the RV park, or that my chocolate hangover is too great to focus on writing. But the distractions are trivial compared to what they used to be. So my day begins leaving my chilly trailer very early in the morning with my coffee in one hand and my laptop tucked under the other arm, and I head for the RV park library where there’s a heater 24/7 and some peace and quiet. I manage to write for a couple of hours until people start coming and going in the post office and laundry room next door.
When life starts to get a little too noisy or sociable in the library, I head back to the trailer to finish my morning writing. By that time the sun has warmed the trailer to a comfortable temperature, and I’m starting to peel away the layers of warm clothes.
If I haven’t accomplished significant writing in the morning in either one of these places, I quite often head out into the Arizona bush to find a quiet place amongst the magnificent red rocks and serene countryside to buckle down on the laptop.
Wherever the location to write each day, at least I’m writing and working on a manuscript. There is an inner knowingness that I am exactly where I need to be – the right place for this write time of my life.