Tuesday, June 4, 2013

“It’s How I Stay Sane”


I’ve never known how to answer people when they ask, “How is it possible you’ve written so many
novels?”

I stare blankly, scrunch my nose, then smile with that awkward over-animated frog face I make sometimes. Eventually, I come up with some goofy answer like “It’s what I do” or “My brain is crowded and it helps me get some ideas out.” I enjoy responding with a wink and a healthy bout of sarcasm. Ah…why we do what we do.

Not long ago, I heard the real answer. It came without pretense. I was, ironically enough, asking another mom and friend from the soccer team how she runs so many marathons (not to mention how she finals with crazy fast times). The woman is my hero. Before a game one day, she took off sprinting at the far end of the field in order to squeeze in a run. I had to double check with another parent on the sidelines that I wasn’t seeing things. I’m talking Road Runner fast.

I pulled this endurance guru aside and asked it straight, “How do you run like you do? What’s your motivation?”

She laughed. Then, without any added explanation, this mom of four young girls admitted, “It’s how I stay sane.”

Say no more. I got it.

I get it.

Call it an outlet, a passion, our oxygen, a stress reliever, a calling, or a vocation. Call it what you will, but I understand this intense level of commitment as a road to sanity.

Protecting the mind. Nourishing the soul. Counterbalancing all the grating and ugly we rub up against during our days here.

Every time I sit to write I’m restoring, reconciling—reinstating sanity. I’m making sense of a senseless world if only by piecing together letter after letter. Word by word. It’s healing for me—this practice of rolling out words like a red carpet, smashing them like an angry kid stomping on a sandcastle, stringing sentences along like fresh linen whipping in the breeze on a clothesline.

So, sure, there are plenty of reasons why I write and keep writing.

But I bet you can guess my latest response to inquiries regarding my commitment to writing.

Sanity, it’s a good thing.

How about you—do you have something you pour yourself into that ends up replenishing your sanity?

*photo by stock.XCHNG




10 comments:

  1. I think I throw myself into the whole publishing/writing business to replenish my sanity. For me, it's not JUST the writing, it's everything - the whole package. I pour myself into keeping my website fresh, designing a newsletter, scrolling through photos looking for my next cover idea, creating pins for blogposts and Pinterest, ALL OF IT! It's crazy insane, and yes, my friends accuse me of insanity!

    I wish I was insane about running. I could use some exercise insanity. Love this post, Wendy!

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    1. Sometimes I think it's the whole package that threatens to shave away my insanity one thought at a time. Writing--that's the restorer.

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  2. How do I stay sane? Working out at the gym, both running and lifting weights. I stay sane from reading and reviewing books. I stay sane by venting to my sister and husband. I stay sane when I spend time just taking some deep breaths and stopping to reflect on other people, praying for them. I stay sane by reading God's Word and letting His Word permeate my mind and spirit. I stay sane by laughing at myself, not taking "me" too seriously (because I tend to be too serious).

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    1. Oh, I like your list. Running kicks me in the sanity kisser every time. Although today during my run I wanted to curl up in the grass to take a long nap with every step I took. Hmm. "Letting His Word permeate my mind and spirit"--appreciate that point!

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  3. Spending quality time with friends. Not the type of time that feels forced or like an obligation (I really need to hang out with so-and-so because it's been awhile). I'm such a verbal processor that a lot of time I end up talking about how I feel--and really, finally understanding it. :)

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    1. I can be a processor too. It cracks me up when I do this with my husband after social events and even 9yo soccer games. Cracks me up. I give myself tons of fodder to laugh at.

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  4. This is going to sound RIDICULOUS, but lately I've been feeling like blogging and social media keep me sane. I know, silly. And yeah, certainly there are days the online side of life can feel more chore-ish than on others. But to be completely honest, sometimes it's my writing that drives me insane...so have that online outlet, connecting with other writer friends, that's what keeps me sane.

    And then other days the writing actually is sanity-producing, too. And those are the days I like it best. :)

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    1. Not ridiculous at all (see Heather's comment above). It certainly helps me stay disciplined, all the online options. But sane, not so much for me. Sometimes pulls me in the other direction if I'm really honest.

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  5. I am SO with you! Writing keeps me sane. Plotting stories keeps me sane. Laughing at stupid premises that come to me and then thinking, maybe I can do something with that--it keeps me sane!!

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    1. LAUGHTER! That is probably my A #1 sanity go-to. I can squeeze laughter out of a rock. Yes, yes I did just write that.

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