**This post originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of the Little Leaf Newsletter.**
I love that I live in a place that has seasons. I look forward to the transition from summer into fall especially (although, at the moment, I am a bit irritated that summer keeps rearing its head while fall is trying ever so gently to find its entrance). As the weather cools and nature begins to make its autumnal turn, I follow along with a deep sense of renewal.
When I was a student, I expectantly awaited the mark of the school year, much like I do now with the change into fall. In college, I’d even look ahead to the beginning of each semester before the prior one had ended! The promises of new lessons, new experiences, and, for an English major like myself, new reading lists left me longing for more. My work life is no different. I continually seek new opportunities for growth and change. Staying the same is not an option for me.
In a recent podcast, Emily P. Freeman talks about coming away for a while in order to find yourself once again. She draws a quote from Dallas Willard and amends it slightly to say, “If you don’t come away for a while, you will come apart after a while.” Essentially, she’s talking about taking intentional breaks that allow you to get back in step with God and who you are meant to be. In the creative sense, she explains that “coming away for a while” means giving your creative self the space to breathe.
Earlier this summer, I shared that I was making changes so that I could be more intentional about working on my own creative projects. June slipped into July, July into August, and August into September…and still my novel has stayed tucked away in its virtual drawer. But it’s been calling to me more and more, and the creative yearning to “come away for a while” has gotten only stronger. I’ve come to realize that I must give myself permission to let go once again.
That’s the wonderful thing about work seasons, though. Certain projects or responsibilities can take priority for a time and then not so much at other times. Just because you step away from something doesn’t mean your time spent doing that thing wasn’t worthwhile; it simply means that you’re ready to move on to something else. The way I’m making this idea come to fruition is that I’m stepping away from my blog so that I can step towards my novel.
As I’ve mentioned before, our goals for writing must be more intentional than simply the desire to write. We must take actionable steps in the right direction to make progress. Bernadette Jiwa notes, “You can wait for the next opportunity to present itself, or you can purposely plan for the progress you want to make.”
By stepping away from my blog, I am working towards giving myself more space in my day, time that I can devote instead to creative writing. But that is only one step. In order to move forward in this new work season, I recognize the need for accountability. I must have a goal, one that I can name and describe and work towards. To do so, Dan Brotzel suggests creating a personal writing vision statement. “Your personal vision statement will help you decide what activities to focus on and where to spend your time and energy,” he explains. With a clear vision in mind, you can learn to say “no” to some things and “yes” to others, depending on how those things fit into your plan.
My personal writing vision statement is as follows: To write historical-based, speculative fiction that transports readers back in time (or to other places) through perfectly flawed characters and complex storylines.
However, at the moment, my immediate writing vision is this: to get back to why I started writing in the first place. My love for storytelling, the magic that happens when what I’m imagining comes through on the page, the joy I feel when readers connect with my characters and root for them as much as I do…those are the moments I want to live again.
And so my season of writing for the Little Leaf Edge is coming to an end, for now, for a while, for a length of time I don’t yet know. My blog will stay active for those who would like to browse through prior posts, and I’m not disappearing entirely from your inboxes and social media newsfeeds! I’ll still post about articles and blog posts that offer insights and advice on writing, branding and content marketing, and building long-lasting customer-business connections, so you’ll still be able to find me on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. But my longer reflections, the Little Leaf writing I have been doing for my blog, will now be reserved for my newsletter only.
If you’re already subscribed to my newsletter, thank you so much! If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can do so here. By doing so, you’ll receive three new guides that summarize much of what I’ve learned over the last several years of being a writer, an editor, a business owner, and a solopreneur. (Current subscribers received these guides last week. If you missed the email, let me know!)
In next month’s newsletter, I hope to share with you more details on my creative writing plans (could a writing retreat be in the future?). Until then, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on your work seasons. Assess what you’ve been doing and where you’d like to go. Then give yourself permission to take the steps you need to take.