Breaking the Obligation Cycle

Write about the last time you left your comfort zone.

Today. This very moment.

It’s the prompts. They’re a great way to get the creative juices flowing for those who are stuck in the proverbial mud, but that’s never been the case with me. I’ve been blogging for over 20 years and, though I may occasionally recycle an idea or two, I never run out of things to say.

Writers write. It’s in our DNA.

I think back often to our road trip to Ohio last year. My only regret was committing to write from the road every single day. There was no time to unwind and relax, and let me tell you, each day was a whirlwind of adventure. By the time we got back to our hotel, it was invariably late and we were exhausted. One evening, Tara was enjoying a bubble bath while I was banging out a blog post. That was when I realized I’d bitten off more than I wanted to chew. But I soldiered on anyway. I never once got to enjoy a relaxing soak on that trip. When we got back home, I told myself, never again. I’d rather live in the moment than do something out of a sense of obligation.

Writing is a compulsion; I could no sooner give it up than I could stop eating or breathing or laughing out loud over JD and Turk’s escapades on Scrubs. But I don’t have to do it every single day. I already do anyway, between the hours of 8 and 5. It’s my job. If the mood strikes after hours, great! But I refuse to force the issue. Life is too short to pass up bubble baths.

So, I’m bowing out of Bloganuary.

Blogging once or twice a week is a comfortable pace for me.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to look at the bigger picture. My life often feels like one big obligation, and usually, it’s self-imposed. I’m going to try to knock that shit off. I don’t always have to be doing something…and if I am, it should be something I want to do, not something I feel I have to do. Maybe that is taking a bath. Or reading. Maybe it is writing…but perhaps fiction instead. It’s been years since I’ve thought about starting a new novel.

Tara was reading old blog posts of mine over the weekend and mentioned this one. I wrote about how much I suck at relaxing. Well, seven months later, I still suck at relaxing. But I’m going to work on that…starting right this very second!.

Err. Starting in eight hours. Still got a job to do today and all.

See you whenever!



Categories: writing

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28 replies

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mark! ‘When the student is ready the teacher appears’ and today you are my teacher. 💕

    I am with you “I never run out of things to say” “Writers write. It’s in our DNA.” I recall your road trip to Ohio last year and I greatly appreciate your candor and a powerful sentence “I’d rather live in the moment than do something out of a sense of obligation.”

    I read all the ‘shoulds’ with writing and life in general. My stomach is in knots, and yes, likely self-imposed obligations.

    I have “pressed pause” on blogging for many personal reasons right now. I feel compelled to interrupt my “pause” to say “thank you, Mark! You never know when you make a difference in someone’s life. I need to read this right now.”💕

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my gosh, yes! I was all, “I post daily anyway” (because COVID and processing in writing and now maintaining the streak) but trying to fit someone else’s prompts into my flow – which tends to run days ahead so that I CAN have days off… just NO. As it is I’m considering dialing back to weekly. But then again, when one processes life in print, it’s hard to dictate the schedule for that.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I say, You do you Mark, whatever that may be. But seriously, no more speaking of bubble baths-there’s an image now inside my brain and that’s all I’ll say…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Takes the pressure off of us, too🤣🤓

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m terrible at relaxing too. There’s always something I could be doing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My husband sucks at relaxing as well. But he’d better learn… because retirement is upon us. As for blogging, I never want to feel forced to do it… but never run out of ridiculous topics either.
    🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yay! The pressure’s off me now, too! Not that I don’t look forward to and enjoy your posts. I do. But when someone who normally posts once a week starts posting 7 days/week, yikes, I just know I’m going to get behind!

    I had a neighbor once who said, “I don’t do anything out of obligation.” I’ve always remembered that. I haven’t adopted it utterly, as she did, but I do try to keep it in mind and it has informed some of my actions over the years. It takes guts to say, “Nope. Not doing it.” (Whatever “it” is.) Well done! Enjoy your extra January hours that would have been spent blogging!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m with you about only posting to my blog once or twice a week. That’s enough for all involved. As for leaving my comfort zone, because of Covid I now find shopping in a store or going to a doctor’s office an example of leaving my comfort zone. Who’d of thunk it?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Recently a good friend of mine celebrated her 50th birthday and I gave her a card that read: “This year, quit doing shit you hate.”
    I should buy about a dozen of them and disperse them to all my friends.
    Not that you hate blogging or the schedule, but the obligations that aren’t necessary do weigh on us.
    Take the bubble bath.
    Write the piece of fiction.
    DO YOU.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sad…was enjoying your daily entries in these dull dark days. Also I can’t think of anything more boring that a good ol’ soak in a bath of bubbles…!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hear hear! We can’t control everything, but that’s true that some of our obligations are self-imposed. You gave me something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

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