There’s this quote from the Bible I’ve been thinking about lately: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Different translations of the good book each phrase it a little differently, but I like this version the best.
Why have I been thinking about it? I haven’t been thinking about it in its religious aspects, but simply for its context in my life. See, my daughter turned one yesterday. One year ago, I was sitting in the hospital, cradling this new life my husband and I had brought into this world, rejoicing in it and freaking out a little all at the same time (though the enormity of what she would mean in our life hadn’t really settled in just yet). Now she’s walking, is full of personality, and loves hanging out with me and “helping” as I do things.
I’ve realized lately that, no matter how good my intentions over the last year and a half, I haven’t stuck with any of my writing goals. I’ve kept up on my journal (sort of) but mostly that’s just been to write down ideas that I have at random times, so I can possibly act on them, someday. I haven’t kept up on this blog. I haven’t kept up on writing the third book in my trilogy. (It’s been about half done for the last year.) The only good thing in writing I’ve done is to start a new job last fall where I was writing again at work.
It’s been difficult. I’ve missed writing, and I know it. I’ve said before it’s a muscle you have to keep working in order to stay any good at it. When you fall out of practice, every day you don’t practice makes it harder to start up again. However, there’s only so much you can fit into every day and stay sane and healthy.
So the reason for my thinking about the quote, “For everything there is a season,” is that I think this has been my “season of being a new mom.” That sounds a little corny, but it’s the truth. With anything new, you have to give it time to settle into your life. You may have to say no to other things in order to make room for the new thing, and to make sure you prioritize and focus on the most important things.
My friend and fellow writer Sarah Werner recently focused her podcast on The Imposter Syndrome, and this question she asked stuck with me from there: “Who gave you permission to be a writer?” She talked about feeling like a fraud, and I’ll admit, there are times I’ve felt like it lately. Am I really a writer if I’m not writing all the time (or at least like I feel I should be)? Can I even call myself that anymore?
I think I need to instead ask myself, “Who says I can’t call myself a writer?” How much do you have to write in order to consider yourself a writer? Who says how many books you have to write, how many words a day/week/month, in order to refer to yourself as a writer? How many books do you have to publish? How many articles or blog posts do you have to write? Who sets that bar?
The truth is (and maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better, but I’ll go with it, anyway) I think for everyone that bar is different, and it will differ every year, or every season, if you will. Just because I used to write so much when I was younger doesn’t mean I will always be able to do that, nor does it mean I will never be able to do that again. And just because I’m not writing as much doesn’t mean I’m no longer a writer.
So I think that, looking back at 2015, I will consider it my season to be a new mom. I chose to focus on my daughter and my family, giving it every bit of attention it deserved. Now, though, as she gets older and more independent (though hopefully not too independent too soon!), I think I can spare a bit of attention to other things that I’ve been missing, like writing.
I hope that, when I look back at 2016, I will call it the season the writer returned.