The Art of Mirriam Neal

//10:49 p.m.

I’m sitting on my bed in a room dimly lit by fairy lights strung up over my bed, listening to a Chinese pop song through the cutest flowered headphones on the planet. I have an open notebook, and I should be writing…even though I already wrote a chapter this afternoon. I sat cross-legged on the hard wood of the back deck for two hours this afternoon in perfect fall weather, working on one of the tough novels (Acceso). It was emotionally difficult, but also idyllic and a little like paradise. There are other things I could be doing. I could be crawling my way through the final revision-slash-edit over ‘Dark is the Night.’ I could be watching the next video in the James Patterson MasterClass (if the video will load). I could be working on one of my final art commissions, but instead I’m writing a blog post about doing them.

SILAS2

Life is like that sometimes – in fact, my whole past month has been that way. It’s been a struggle between doing what I want to do and what I should be doing, and for the most part, what I want to do has won out. This isn’t always bad – usually, I advocate it. But it’s a bad habit to get into, and it’s oh so easy to cultivate.

I live in my head. Sometimes I’m so wrapped up in my own mind that I forget I haven’t been physically productive. I can gather inspiration until I burst, but I’m so busy in the gathering that I forget to use it all. I’ve felt like a rubber band – last month I was stretched, and this month I snapped back in the opposite direction. Outwardly hasn’t seen much change; but inwardly, there has been turmoil and a boiling cauldron of never-ending questions I prefer to drown out by doing something else. Did I lose my ability to trust people? Over something that small? No, I still trust people, it’s just harder. Am I weak for letting it all affect me this way? Should I be doing something else? Am I living? I feel like I’m living – am I doing anything worthwhile? Am I affecting anyone? Helping anyone? Or is my entire existence wrapped up in my own skull?

It’s a time of figuring things out, but it will always be that time. You can’t stay in the planning stage forever – sometimes you just need to make it all up as you go along – and at least I know all about making things up. After all, I am a writer.

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