Authors, as people, are different. I’ve always thought there were two kinds, but there are probably more than that. I’m talking about what we crave as far as the career, not how we write. For now, let’s just say this: Some long for the hustle and bustle of the city, meeting people, making deals, and living a fast-paced life. Others, however, long for something a little simpler.
For me, I enjoy the simple life. I like to write and read outside when I can, and taking walks through the trees while getting in touch with nature really helps me to zone out and use my imagination. It lets me forgot, at least temporarily, about all the other things weighing me down, as if none of that really matters. When I can truly clear my head and focus on a project, I find that I am at my happiest.
(You’ll notice as well that many of my books feature travel in the open world instead of dealing with matters in cramped society, court, etc. I like this idea of freedom, and the inner workings of politics and society has often baffled me.)
I grew up in the country. As I child, my family always had a garden — not a farm, mind you, but a garden (and a few animals). During the summer, my parents always made me help, and I would say ‘there is no way I’m going to need this as an adult! I’m going to be so rich (ugh) that I won’t have to do this.’ Sure. My brother and I used to talk about having mansions with hidden doors behind our bookshelves. Those were the days… And guess what? Now we both garden and try to live frugally.
The older I get, the more I find myself looking back to that. Lately, I’ve become fascinated with growing things. I have even begun to feel empathy with plants, which is new for me. (I’m sad when I have to clip a vine that doesn’t need to be climbing wherever it is climbing. It worked so hard to get there!)
For the past few years, all I can think about is living a simple life to coincide with my writing, to have a self-sufficient, frugal lifestyle which is slower in pace and truly stress-free and enjoyable. I think I’ve been longing for it for a long time, I just didn’t know how to identify it. Along with all that, one thing that remains important to me is connecting with nature.
Growing up, one thing my family often did was go camping. This was something we could do together that didn’t cost very much, and though I likely complained about it at the time, it’s still something that I hold dear and enjoy doing on occasion. I have a lot of good memories about sitting out by the campfire and riding my bike during the day through all the campground trails. It was a great time for me to sit back and brainstorm, and even now when I actually get to go, it feels like a chance to unplug, to sit and read by the campfire.
Sometimes, I honestly wish that experience would carry over to my daily life. I wish I wanted to spend more time outdoors every day, but it’s easy to just stay inside in front of the computer (and with the air conditioning), but when I do take time to go I out, I usually smile and breathe a sigh of contentment. If it wasn’t so hot out right now, I think I would sit outside to write and maybe even get some reading done, just to enjoy the time in nature.
Even mowing the yard is a fun task for me now! Not sure how that is, but it works as an outdoor excursion.
I’m thinking that I might take the blog in a slightly new direction, exploring not only my books and projects, but to share more about what I’m doing to build my life in this simpler way. For a long time, I feel that what I’ve been seeking is peace in my life and a balance between what I have to do and what I want to do. I don’t think that I have fully found that comfortable place, but I’m trying to get there.
Also, I’m hoping to publish posts twice a week instead of once. I’ve been doing well with the once a week thing, and right now I feel that I might be able to do more. That could change, but I’ve been enjoying working on the blog lately, and I hope it sticks.
Right now, I’m feeling pleased with the thought of the future and the direction that I’m headed in, but I’m also nervous at the thought that it might have to change a lot sooner than I want it to. Either way life goes, I’m hanging in there and trying to focus on what I need to accomplish to make my life better.
I just thought I’d share some of these peaceful pictures with you! I want to make this a recurring theme on the blog and talk about how taking a break and enjoying the simple things in life will help clear the mind and make for better creativity.
What do you do to keep the balance?