Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Creating my writer's life

It has taken me some time to create my new life as a full-time writer. When I stopped working at the end of January, I thought I would just wake up the next morning and focus on my writing projects, but thatís not exactly what happened. I sat down in front of my computer the next day and wasnít able to concentrate. For a week, I looked at my projects and felt empty. I was surprised since writing full-time had been my goal for a long time. I decided to take a break to figure out what was going on and realized that I couldnít just start a new life without first putting to rest my old one. For years, writing was something I fit into my life and now it was to be at the center of my life.

Me, My Heart, and I :: Creating my writer's life

I initially felt a lot of pressure that first week of my new writerís life because I thought I had to publish a book immediately if I wanted to consider myself a real writer. Instead of forcing myself to write, I decided instead to take a break. The only thing I felt like doing was basking in solitude. For months, I kept to myself and became very serious about taking care of my body by running regularly, my heart by embracing the beauty around me, my mind by meditating, and my soul by reading. The solitude I experienced allowed me to figure out what I wanted in my new life and what I had to let go of.

While sitting in my apartment one day, I looked around me and admired the life I had created for myself. I was living alone in Florence, I had money in the bank, I had my health, I had friends and loved ones in my life, I was surrounded by beauty and tranquility in my apartment, and I felt supported by the universe. I was finally able to acknowledge not only who and what was in my life, but also who I had become. Every day I basked in my beloved city by walking along the Arno, delighting in the sights, smells, and sounds around me, catching sunrises and sunsets, strolling through the streets and piazzas, and glancing up at the sky to admire the clouds. My break allowed me to realize that I was already truly happy and abundant. I could finally stop running after happiness and just embrace it.

During these last six months, I have embraced who I truly am, unraveled a few knots from my past, forgave a lot of people including myself, and visualized a new future for myself. My goal isnít to write to be happy, but to be happy and then write. My real job is to foster love and joy inside of me because that is what fuels my writing. Writing is a never-ending cycle of love and joy where I fill myself up and empty myself out in my writing.

I used to think that each writing project was a task to complete, but now I consider each one as a project to bring to life. I now give each project the time and space it needs to develop and evolve at its own pace. In my previous life, I was driven by bosses and clients and rewarded by the money they deposited into my account. Nowadays, I am driven by my own goals and rewarded by the pleasure of writing.

Over these last few months, I created a new life for myself in which I defined what being a writer meant to me, what my purpose for writing was, what goals I set for myself, and what success would look like for me in this new life.

I havenít defined every aspect of my writerís life because I wanted to allow some room for it to evolve as well. I now keep my heart and mind open so that I may follow my heart when it whispers to me. I have faith that my ideas will come to life naturally and organically. I donít put any pressure on myself because my writerís life does not entail just writing every day, but nurturing me so that I have something of value to write about.

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