Friday, May 14, 2021

Holding strong in the storm

 I hope the fact that I no longer live on a boat doesn't preclude nautical metaphors. Because here we are again. 

We all know the wind is going to blow in our lives. Most of us have learned to handle that wind and, in fact, use it to propel us. 

But those aren't the winds we're talking about this week. This week is about the storms, squalls, and cyclones. The chill and stinging rain and howling winds yanking and tugging and churning up the water of our routines and lives.

With Covid, we all know what that looks like now. Stress. Uncertainty. A little fear. In some cases, panic and desolation. 

When a storm sweeps in, the ideal place to be is moored to a solid mass. A dock. In a writer's case, that solid mass is a habit set deep in the bedrock of your days. A habit like Jeffe's. Tying up to that is safe. Reliable. Immovable. Sometimes you get a few hard bounces against the dock, but so long as your lines hold, your craft is safe.

The problem is that sometimes you're underway when storms spin up. No docks in sight. You're caught out in dangerous conditions. On a boat (and in matters of health and well-being), your single job is to keep your nose into the wind. Why? To keep from being capsized. If you can find shelter, you run for it. And then you set an anchor and give yourself a really, really long leash. That's what keeps your anchor hooked into the bottom of the seabed and your craft in a position to ride out the worst. 

Translated out of nautical metaphor: Tie up to the safety of established habit when you can, but when the horse feathers hit the fan and you can't fall back on habit, throw out an anchor. Let that anchor take the form of a craft class or anything that requires you to get your head in your writing for a few hours each week. 

Then give yourself grace. A lot of it. 

Remember. Your first job is protecting your health and well-being when storms roar in to knock you off course. When you're healthy, you have a million wishes. When you aren't healthy, you have only one wish. 

Don't let the storms steal your wishes.

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