It is said that to be a writer one must be gifted. Who ‘gifts’ what to whom, I wonder? While the overt meaning implied is obvious – one must be gifted to write anything worthwhile – I think there is more to unpack here. Any of us who write no doubt recognise the more selfish nature of the gift. Writing is the true joy and gift to the writer, long before the page is read by anyone else, for whom of course, the reading is also a gift. Creating, playing, allowing oneself to be absorbed by the act of writing, as perhaps others are when playing music or sport, can be a transcendent experience. The freedom to be in the action of one’s own creating, is there anything more absorbing and satisfying? A few sacred things perhaps: food, sex. No doubt you know instantly what personally brings you great joy…
Yet for many of us relatively new to the modern writing scene, romantic notions of sitting at a desk, perhaps overlooking the sea with a cup of something warm, gentle music playing in the background and all the time in the world to observe, ponder, sit introspectively allowing inspiration to come- are as much fiction as what invariable ends up on the page. The nature of writing has changed so much, not in content necessarily, but in the act of sharing. It now seems unavoidable that an ongoing conversation with one’s audience must happen outside the published pages for an author to gain traction.
For some I suspect this is fun and the thoughts of interacting and connecting in this way is genuinely rewarding. For others like myself, it can be at the least daunting and at most exhausting. Carving out precious hours to write, while also navigating careers, parenthood and not to mention a pandemic, can be challenging enough for a writer without also having to attend to one’s online profile. Social media engagement, won only by creating ‘authentic’ and ‘interesting’ content, now seems part and parcel of the author’s gambit. As someone who finds true joy in writing, this side of things almost dampened the enthusiasm to write. A relatively shy person, like many of us who find solace on the page and in our imaginations, sharing content and hustling felt uncomfortable. With a day job as a psychoanalyst, the focus is always on the analysand, never the analyst, so this shift in attention sat uneasy. As a result, the opportunity came and went to write a follow up to my first offering, as thoughts of having to create energy for all the things that invariably come along with being a writer felt misaligned.
What to do I wondered. While the label ‘writer’, which I had long coveted and finally acquired, seemed easily to slip away as I weighed up the demands of family, career and the discomfort of worrying about social media stats. In the face of something that doesn’t feel quite right, when perhaps you think it should, the answer is often to not do. To wait, to breath and to allow time for the right path to show itself.
The pandemic has deeply affected my relationship to time. More than ever I see that it bends and stretches and we all experience it singularly. Of course we innately knew this as children. Waiting for the Christmas holidays felt like a lifetime ,while conversely that first week-long summer camp raced to conclusion. One week of bliss is everlasting in one’s memory and feels so much more significant than the months of school that stretched out before. Time gives perspective, space for re-configuring how we experience and understand things. If we stay curious, time can allow for growth and re-conceptualising how we relate to something.
So with time and space I realised what may indeed be obvious to so many. Do what you love and things will unfold just as they should. Instead of fighting the status quo, find a way to join in that feels fun and interesting. This was the lesson time revealed and I now find myself enjoying wonderful conversations with people I admire about all things pleasure related via my podcast Artful Eating. This is my way of engaging that is fun and feels like a worthwhile use of time borrowed from that lovely desk overlooking the sea. But time that will of course inspire both myself and those who are interested to listen. Travels over the airwaves with people who know a thing or two about pleasure, based on their lived experience, location and personal philosophies. Which now feels more important than ever when we cannot travel with the same freedom as we used to.
Another sort of gift perhaps imbued with reciprocity rather than empty speech. The result is a new equilibrium that allows space to write and space to engage with my audience in a meaningful way, with a sprinkling of inspiration thrown in for good measure, which we all know is incredibly important for aspiring writers!
(c) Karina Melvin
Karina Melvin is a psychologist, psychoanalyst and author of the Irish Bestselling Artful Eating: The Psychology of Lasting Weight Loss. She is fascinated by how the mind works and has been helping people change their lives and most importantly, their relationships with themselves for over ten years though both lecturing in Psychoanalysis at University College Dublin and through her clinical practice at Sandymount Psychotherapy. She also has two online-courses Artful Eating and The Inner Journey which are designed to help people find their personal path to greater ease and joy in life.
Karina Melvin BSc. Psych., MSc. Clinical Psych.
Registered Practitioner APPI
Psychologist & Psychoanalyst
Host of the Artful Eating Podcast- listen on iTunes
About Artful Eating: The Psychology of Lasting Weight Loss
This book can change your life forever!
Rediscover the magic of eating for pleasure and enjoy a life of balance with the freedom to eat the foods you want without dieting.
Artful Eating will take you on a journey filled with stories, life lessons, practical tools and strategies all rooted in the most up to date scientific and psychological research. Learn how to reprogram your mind to lose weight and achieve the body you desire, by changing your thoughts, behaviours and approach to pleasure.
Successful weight loss is not about what you eat, it’s about why and how you eat. We are missing the most vital ingredient in the weight loss battle: the mind. It is our mind that fuels every decision we make about food and by focusing solely on the symptom, the excess weight, we have lost sight of the cause.
There is no strenuous exercise regime, no food elimination, no strict meal plan, just powerful psychological tools and strategies which will create lasting change. You will be amazed at how easy it is to achieve the body you desire and truly deserve.
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