Love affairs

I once took a sick day from a temp job because I was reading a book I loved so much I literally could not put it down. That was in my 20’s and the job was in an office, for a bank, nothing I was passionate about, though it paid the bills.

Lately I have been toying with the idea of writing fiction, and there is a story that I have begun getting down on paper, a few paragraphs here & there in my journal. There are a few characters forming in my consciousness, and it is a “road not taken” kind of story perhaps relating to aspects of my own life. But the characters are distinct from me, and seem to have minds of their own.

I’ve been considering how to get more time for my writing. Even though I have not interviewed yet for a position that is kind of exciting to me, I worry that a new job means I would have to focus more on that work, and less on my own creative endeavors. Then I remember the advice that Liz Gilbert gave to a writer during her podcast “Magic Lessons.”  It was to “have an affair” with her art, which in her case was painting.

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She explained that people who are having affairs, despite having busy lives, somehow find a way to fit those steamy encounters into their lives. The affair provides a nuclear energy boost, and even though it is not front and center in terms of one’s time and one’s external priorities. Sneaking away to do this thing is delicious and exciting. And our creativity has a desire to have an affair with us.

This feels like where my writing resides right now, in that “stolen” morning time before I get myself ready for work. It is sort of a sacred time for me, and while I keep up the appearance of a “normal” life on the surface, I like having this other aspect of me. I do not share it with everyone (or in the case of this fiction, anyone), and yet it excites me.

When I stopped doing a daily post for a while, thinking I would give myself more time, I actually struggled with getting the energy to get my “regular” things done. While I know I do not have to post publicly every day, but then I *DO* need to generate my work anyway. Because it sustains me and thrills me.

There is some part of me that knows that if it were the main event in my life, it would not feel this exciting and thrilling. Keeping a life that sustains me, and work that pays well, as long as it is not too all-consuming, allows me to find excitement and spark during these stolen moments with words, color and creativity. And perhaps that is why it is so appealing, because it is a treat I give to myself.

Are you having an affair with your art? Do you sneak in the time no matter what else is going on? I would love to hear if this concept resonates with you. 


7 thoughts on “Love affairs

  1. I love this view of things, although I’ve never thought of it in just this way! I work for many hours on my editing tasks, but still sometimes feel “guilty” when I take the time out to work on “my own” writing. I’ve recently begun a new plan, in which I actually put in MORE editing hours on six days a week and then dedicate the last day (whichever one works best) to my personal writing projects. This feels very strange, which maybe is a good thing, to keep that “excitement” going that you mention?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Becky. I am curious about that, mostly because I don’t have the self-discipline to limit my writing to one day a week. But what if you put that personal writing first, and gave it 45-60 minutes a day before the other “have to do” projects. Do you think that would give you more energy for the other things? I just don’t like the idea of prioritizing your other stuff over your own writing, which is clearly something you enjoy. 🙂


      1. I’ve tried that, but the goal of making enough to meet my bills weighs too heavily on my mind and makes it difficult to concentrate until I get that daily goal out of the way. I wish that my mind didn’t work that way, but it does…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I totally understand. Since I have a salaried job with relatively flexible hours, I guess it affords me the luxury of not worrying as much about that. Of course, I do fantasize about someday not having to work a full time job, but today I guess it serves my larger purpose.

        Liked by 1 person

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