I promised myself I wouldn’t get so involved this year. I wouldn’t volunteer to serve on a committee, I would politely refuse any nominations to an office, and I would find more time to write.
Here it is September, and I am still running from meeting to meeting, still frantically trying to decipher the notes I need to turn into legible minutes, still trying to fulfill obligations I took on because — well, because I felt the need to jump in and help a worthy cause.
I’m not sure it isn’t the same for most writers. Yes, there’s the guy who locks himself into a room and turns out a 100,000-word manuscript and emerges with a scruffy beard and bleary eyes to re-introduce himself to his wife and children.
I believe most writers, though, are out and about in the world. If they have young children, they definitely are committed to their school and sport activities. A writer who is a parent cannot live in a bubble unless she can afford nannies and housekeepers.
Which most of us can’t unless we are Danielle Steele.
I have no such excuse, but I still think it is important to be active in something other than writing. Belonging to writers’ organizations is imperative if I want to improve my skills and share my hopes and fears with people who understand. It also helps to belong to a group who could care less if I wrote a book and care more if I pitch in and help with the annual fundraiser.
It keeps me grounded. It keeps me connected.
And, perhaps not so strangely, it invigorates my writing process by providing insight and depth. I have never read a book that didn’t have at least one person in it. Books are about people. I don’t think I can create people in my books if there are no people in my life. And, they have to be people I care about, and people to whom I answer “yes” when they ask for my help.
Last January I promised not to get so involved so I would have more time to write.
It turns out though, that being involved makes me not only a happier person, but makes the time I have to write more valuable and more productive because I bring energy and enthusiasm to the table.
As they say, the more you give, the more you receive.