A Writer’s Authentic Self

by Tasha Seegmiller

Happy last Monday of 2020!

Most years, there are people who are offering suggestions on how to reflect on what was accomplished, how to plan for a “better” year ahead. I have been one of those people. Seriously, the resolutions I used to set were ri-dic-u-lous.

But I’ve been doing a lot of work this year, on myself, on my valued relationships, on identifying when someone is trying to get something from me versus working toward something with me. And while I am not the first person to talk about the necessity of keeping our eyes on our own path, I do want to have us take a minute, in this typically quieter time of the year, at the end of a tumultuous everything, and be honest.

Grab a notebook, open a new doc, and write your unfiltered, honest answers to the following:

1. Did you write as much this year as you thought you would?

(This one’s pretty much a yes or no…) (remember honest and unfiltered)

2. What allowed you to do so?

OR…What prevented you from doing so?

3. How did all that was 2020 help or hinder you?

  • Did your mental capacity and/or health seem to be in the perpetual chute of Chutes and Ladders?
  • Did you have people when previously you didn’t?
  • Did your energy shift in regards to what was required for your job/day to day life/making ends meet/worrying about loved ones/____________, etc.?

4. Does writing nurture you?

I’m anticipating at least ten minutes to answer those questions, if you are giving yourself time and space to be honest with yourself.

And I’m going to be very honest here: the flipping of a calendar to 2021 isn’t going to magically create a shift to what was (sorry…). I don’t want to be the Debbie Downer of WITS, yet I find it is better for me to be very aware of reality and plan for the worst. In America, politics will shift and still be politics. We have a vaccine for COVID and it’s going to take a long time for everyone to get to the point where safety is the new norm. Economies are dodgy, schools won’t really be consistent for a bit, and while we’d all like to look to the sky for the superhero of our preference to come in and save the day, real life is nuanced and hard and complicated.

If you answered no to #1 above, if you look at all the reasons you didn’t, do you have the capability to change any of that moving forward? Do you maybe need to change what you are expecting of your writing, of yourself?

If you have traded writing for sewing, painting, reading, etc. are you at a point in your life when writing isn’t nourishing you like it used to? If you are not under contract/using writing as a form of income, why are you trying so hard to write right now (if you say, “Well Shakespeare wrote King Lear…” that’s the wrong answer).

Do you need to get real honest about how you are spending your time and WHY? If someone asks for shows to binge and you scroll through the comments having seen all of most of them, is that because you are rewarding yourself for a hard day, or are you numbing yourself to the world around you? What has happened to your phone usage? Do you feel more connected to the people around you?

Now stop.

Close your eyes and take a full, lung-satisfying breath.

What do you feel in your neck and shoulders? When you’re thinking about how you’d like to progress through 2021 with all the things, but especially your writing, does what you want to accomplish feel honest and true, in the deepest part of your soul, heart, and gut? Does it feel like something you think you should want to do but don’t?

This isn’t fast work. Answering these questions won’t magically make you able to write better or rise earlier to get words in or provide more peace of mind and energy.

Answering these questions will give you a minute to reconnect with the truth within you. To remember what it means to sit with your authentic self. From there, start asking other questions:

  • What is my favorite excuse (real or perceived) for not doing what I want?
  • How do I really feel about how I’m spending my time?
  • What are the things I cannot change/modify/reverse about my reality?
  • Where do I have some choice?

Congratulations. You made it to the last Monday of 2020.

There has been a lot to process, and each of us had different things. Feel your feelings, have an honest conversation, get grounded today, this week, and revisit this again, as you feel yourself numbing or spinning. Just as no one had the answers for how to get through this year, no one has answers on how you need to proceed, except you.

And I believe in you.

Did any of the questions above particularly resonate? What are your favorite ways to reconnect with your authentic self?

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About Tasha

Tasha Seegmiller believes in the magic of love and hope, which she weaves into every story she creates. She is an MFA candidate in the Writing Program at Pacific University and teaches composition courses at Southern Utah University. Tasha married a guy she’s known since she was seven, is the mom of three teens, and co-owner of a soda shack and cotton candy company. She is represented by Annelise Robey of Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Top Image by iXimus from Pixabay

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