Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Week Three: Writing Time

Along with my pile of books and cooler of food and beach towels and chairs and on and on, I brought a key question with me to Door County. Should I continue working on my book of essays on grief and loss or should I set it aside and start something else? In the shadows was another question: "Should I confine my public writing to this blog and my journals? These questions are part of an even broader question about this stage of my life. What is this decade of my 60's to be about? What is my purpose now?

And you thought a month in Door County was about the beach!

Here's what I am learning.

Yes, I want to continue writing my book.

Yes, it has merit and deserves to be finished.

No, it is not done and in fact, needs not only editing, but needs to be bigger. I need to write additional essays, including one on spiritual practices. Other essay topics are bubbling up as well. I need to do some restructuring and write introductions to each part.

Yes, I need to start an additional book as well. Maybe that will be about transitions. Maybe it will be a spiritual handbook for people touched by cancer, based on the material I developed for the spirituality groups I led for many years.

Being here cleared the space for me to arrive at these understandings. I have walked and prayed and meditated and eaten well and read and slept well. And I have been writing. One of the things I realized is that when I am not writing, I feel passive and even negative about my writing, but when I am engaged in the writing process, I love what I am doing and believe in it. In this case absence does not make the heart grow fonder. I think what this means is that writing needs to be a CORE activity for me.

Here's where everyone around me may glaze over. For how many times have I announced that writing is going to be priority in my life and then I let everything interfere with it. That is true for losing weight and how many other declarations, as well. I know once I am home it won't be easy to implement. In fact, I know what happens when you make an announcement to the universe. All sorts of other opportunities or interferences starting ringing your door bell. Spirit wants you to be sure, wants you to stand firm, wants you to act on your intention. This doesn't mean that I am not open to new opportunities nor that I will discontinue doing other activities that give me joy and allow me to grow, but I will be examining them in light of writing time and writing energy.

This weekend Bruce and I stopped in an artist's studio and she asked me what I do. Now you know if you have been reading this blog, that this is a question I have been struggling with since our move to Wisconsin. Well, this is what I said. "I'm a spiritual director, but I am no longer in private practice. Instead, I plan to be a spiritual director through my writing." I have posed this idea tentatively, softly, in the past--more as a question than as a statement. This time, however, it felt so clear, so clean. I think Spirit heard me. I think Spirit spoke.


  1. yes and yes, you are a gifted writer and processor of experience who should be sharing that gift with many. I have really enjoyed these blogs from Door County, especially your comparisons of quiet and controlled chaos. Isn't that how life should be, it is when we get out of balance that things really turn dark quickly. Enjoy your quiet. Amy

  2. Nancy, what a joy to read these posts... especially since they are from Door County. I hope we'll meet one day along Green Bay or Lake Michigan when I'm back in Door Co. with my soon-to-be husband! I affirm your response to the artist. As I recall, writing was an important part of your private practice, too. This is a natural transition for you. Love, Julie