It's funny how stress affects us. I'm not just talking about bad stress, it can be good stress, too. But the way in which stress refocusses our attention on things that are more relevant to "survival" and less relevant to "self-expression" in that slow, steady shifting of priority. And then one day you look around and realize how much you miss writing, how much you miss existing in other worlds - the vibrant ones in your imagination.
One of my artist-friends once told me a key lesson he'd learned early about creativity. "In order to produce good art, you have to consume good art." I've found this to be so accurate with my writing, too. Time to myself with a good book is probably one of the first things that falls off my radar once life becomes busy for me, which means consuming good writing becomes more difficult.
Lately I've been really grateful for my writing community. I have both online friends and real life friends who have been avidly engaing in their own writing projects, allowing me to interact on them, and have been patient with me while I "cocoon" for a while. Actually, I like that image. I didn't realize I was cocooning, but I think it's accurate. With all the personal life changes and adjustments recently I think cocooning is a pretty good representation of where I'm at. But I can also feel life stirring again, and that's exciting.
Last week I wrote about the value of a personal retreat - well, I've booked one. I have friends with a cabin on their property that sounds absolutely ideal. No running water, an outhouse, a tiny fridge, a hotplate, just me and the forest. And a book. And my notebooks. I don't think I'll even take my laptop. If I do any writing, which I'm planning to, it'll be the old-fashioned pen-and-notebook kind. Consuming good stories, sitting in nature, removing myself from distractions and responsibilities for the weekend... that's some good soul food. I'm hoping it'll provide a bit of a stable foundation for my creativity moving forward.