Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obligation, Burden, or Joy

One of my singing partners (I'm in a trio - we perform at retirement communities) told us she could only commit to one gig per month, and that was pushing it. Family obligations, work, and other responsibilities were competing with the time required to practice and perform.

Two of us want to do more than one gig per month. This presented a dilemma.

First, we needed to ascertain whether the one who is over-committed elsewhere was still committed to our group. She is. Check. Then we needed to solve the problem of doing more gigs when only two of us could do them. We found a singer who is willing to substitute when necessary. Check. Third, we need to get said substitute singer up to speed by scheduling time for her to learn the material. Check. Lastly, we needed to make sure everyone was okay with this solution. Check.

What I ended up saying to my over-committed partner is, "The whole reason we began this project is because we love to sing and we love bringing our joy to our elders. If it feels like a burden or an obligation, that doesn't really work."

Writing was beginning to feel like an obligation, rather than fill me with joy as it always has. If it doesn't flow out of me, if I'm having to struggle to get words down on paper, if I'm dreading the time in front of the blank page, that doesn't work for me. Just as it didn't work for my over-committed partner. We found a way for her to continue singing without feeling burdened or feeling like she was stifling our needs. I'm working on figuring out my solution to writing without feeling burdened by it. I'll keep you posted.

How much of your life is filled with obligation, responsibility and things that feel burdensome, rather than those things that give you joy?



L. Diane Wolfe said...

How much? WAY too much!
The requirements as both author and speaker really weigh me down sometimes. It's like an endless cycle of promotions, mailings, calls, bookings, more promotion, prepping, etc. And my online obligations have grown so over the past year that I sometimes feel chained to the internet. It's as if I've expanded so far now, pulling back in any area will mean total collapse.
However, next week when I fly back to Oregon, I will have limited access to the internet and a lot of time to write on the plane. And you know what? I am so looking forward to that!

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

With me it goes in sprees. There are days (or weeks) when things just seem to flow and get so much done writing wise and other wise. I even feel up to the task of handling obligations, responsibilities and burdens. However there are days (or weeks) when I can’t seem to handle half of what I need to and I feel like I’m spinning in circles and going no where. I have a feeling it’s more to do with my time management skills (or lack of them) than anything else.

Cyndi said...

My life used to be almost 100% obligation. It's not a fun life. I love the way you handled your trio situation. Everyone still gets to do what they can and want to do and there are no hard feelings.

As far as writing...I guess you'd have to ask yourself why it has come to feel like an obligation instead of a joy. Are you not writing what you really want to write? For me, whenever I have to write something for which I feel no passion it feels like an obligation. When I write something that I really want to write, I love every single second.

CKHB said...

That's some REALLY good food for thought today...

Helen Ginger said...

I'm glad you figured out a way to continue doing what you love. As to writing, sometimes you have to take a break or find a new avenue to writing. Who knows, maybe singing for others will lead you to a plot that involves singing and your enthusiasm will return.

Straight From Hel

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

The only burden I feel is the one that my chronic illness and the meds I take give me. It is a challenge every day to write. The mind is willing but the body is weak.

I know what it is to be where you are and I pray that you will be God inspired and the words will flow without end!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Karen -- Another timely post. During those times that writing (or anything else on your To Do List) feels like a burden, my advice is to pull something else to the top of the list (something you are passionate about) and do that first. I think these wants and needs are cyclical, and that our bodies and minds work better if we follow the cycle. In my own experience, writing is sometimes all-important, and sometimes I'd rather take a class in watercolor or go on a trip, etc. Kind of a "go with the flow" thing, I guess.

The Old Silly said...

Excellent subject. Blogging sometimes feels like an obligation, a bit of a responsibility - you know, if you're committed to posting daily ... but not very often. I try to write up several posts on inspired days so when it feels like a chore I have some good stuff stored in draft to post easily. Otherwise it'd be uninspired crap and I don't want my loyal readers to be subjected to "mail it in" garbage.

As for writing in my books, it can NEVER feel like an obligation - if it ever does I STOP. Wait til the joy of opening up the WIP comes back and write with joy and a smile.

Marvin D Wilson

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Obligation? Blogging. Alan Orloff wrote about getting, "Blogged Down" not long ago. That's me. On days when I have something to say or share, it's great, otherwise, it's...well…less enjoyable. Like Marvin said, I don't wanna just "mail it in," but sometimes that's the danger, so, I'm working on a program to blog 3 times per week. Wish I could give a different report, but, it is what it is...at least for now. Maybe when my book comes out, I'll crank it back up, but daily is getting to be a burdensome chore.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog