For years now, my family has embraced its own unique version of the simple living lifestyle. Weâ€™re not what you would call a typical middle-class family. Although we donâ€™t carry simple living to the extreme, there are a few things we do that might seem excessive to some people: We donâ€™t have cable TV or satellite or dish, we donâ€™t eat out very often, we live within a budget, we chase sales and shop at thrift stores, and we compost and recycle. Instead of being caught up in the consumerism rampant in America, we love beating the system.
When James and I moved a couple of years ago into our custom designed, custom built 1956 house on a one acre lot, my life became even simpler: no dishwasher and no garbage disposal. I never thought I could live without a dishwasher, but guess what? I actually look forward to the downtime that comes with washing dishes by hand.
Weâ€™ve always grown a lot of our own food, but now with the bigger yard, we can grow blueberries, watermelons and cantaloupes. I make jams and jellies; James makes pickles. We blanch and freeze peas and beans, tomatoes and okra, so we can enjoy the summerâ€™s bounty all year long. Yes, itâ€™s a lot of work, but the results are very satisfying.
James and I enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Weâ€™re not waiting until our golden years to stop and smell the roses–stopping to smell the roses has been and is our way of life. We planted a special flower garden to attract butterflies, dragonflies and hummingbirds. We enjoy watching wildlife. Bird feeders and birdbaths are scattered all over the yard. Lizards and toads live in my rock garden.
So what, you may ask, has all of this to do with writing? Sometimes, writers get so caught up with promotion, marketing, formatting, playing on Kindleboards, obsessing over sales numbers, entering contests, taking online classes, and submitting to editors that we forget to stop and enjoy the process. We forget the simple things like the joy in writing a beautiful sentence, searching for the perfect word, being surprised by a character or plot twist.
I try to celebrate every small accomplishment, every hard-won victory in my writing life. For example: A few years ago, I finished a one-hundred-words for one-hundred-days writing challenge. I confess I didnâ€™t write much more than my one hundred words most days, but by the end, I had almost three chapters written on a new book. (And I published that book, BTW). More importantly, I developed the habit of daily writing. To celebrate, I bought a new birdbath for the yard. Now, every time I sit on my breezeway and watch the birds drink and bathe, Iâ€™ll remember that I am a writer who now writes every day, no matter how much or how little, no matter how good or how bad. Iâ€™m a writer and I write. Isnâ€™t that what itâ€™s all about?
Anne Marie 🙂