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  • Writer's picturecatherine@allaboutwriters

Finding Balance

I'm just back from a perfect surf down at our secret beach. I so enjoy the sweet little rolling waves that just pop right up and cruise casually into shore, happy to have you along for the ride. I am by no means a great surfer, but in the right conditions there are few things more enjoyable than catching some nice waves on a calm and sunny day like today. The conditions matter, though, for me to be able to even paddle out in the first place.

Now I am sitting, looking out over the trees behind our shack and writing for the second time today. Being in Australia, I get the call for the daily challenge in the late afternoon, meaning when I am on my game I post early in US time. Clearly that was not the case yesterday, so this morning saw me writing for day 1, this afternoon for day 2 of this, my first SOL March challenge. But what to write about?

My go-to writing is to tell stories from my childhood. I was fortunate to have a safe, nurturing childhood that was also filled with adventure and freedom. I love to recount those stories, as I often do for my kids and with my classes. It's a great way to practice craft, and I feel pretty safe in the content. But 31 days of stories from my childhood will surely be too much for anyone to bear. So what else?

Having just finished another round of study, I've been immersed in the world of academic writing, which was so challenging. It took me a while to reacquaint myself with the finer points of referencing and become a competent researcher once again, but I truly loved every minute. Even the time spent editing and formatting...though to a lesser degree I must say. There could be something in that - writing to learn as an aspect of this challenge. I've been flicking through, "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron for a couple of months now and not getting started. Perhaps this could be the research aspect I can bring to my writing and combine the two?

I guess I'm also really interested in reflecting as part of this challenge. This would be the most difficult type of writing for me, and I haven't done it much. I have kept journals over years of my life, but more recount material and aspirational writing than reflection. I'm very pragmatic (thus combining this challenge with another appeals to me), and although reflective in many aspects of my life, not so much in writing. Is this the time to strip away the fear of the unknown, the worry about how it should look and read, and the fear when publishing to an audience? Now that will be a challenge.

You know what? I'm going to count this piece as reflective and write through this challenge in search of balance. Just as we come here to this sleepy surf beach to try and balance the pace of everyday life with some napping, swimming and relaxation. It could be that in the same way I need the right set of conditions for me to get up on a board and surf, I need this challenge to push me into new writing territories. I guess we'll just have to see how the next 29 days pan out...

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