The ability to reflect on any matter of relevance in one's life is a luxury. We have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. We work, we eat, we clean, we worry, we pamper, and we chide - who has the time to see the forest when there are too many trees in the way?
This Friday marked the first full day this calendar year that I managed to step back and think about certain things that are important to me apart from the elements of my daily existence (and I actually took the day off from work to do it). It being Good Friday and Earth Day, what better occasion to take a balance?
Writing, of course, is one of those matters of great relevance. Why am I writing? (It makes me happy). What do I get out of it? (Immense satisfaction and the chance to "escape" into the realities I create). What are the challenges I face? Naturally, this was the most difficult one to answer. To know my strengths and weaknesses presupposes that I have the wisdom to know the difference. (And I hope I do). In the end, I can sum up the results of three hours of deliberation in two words - recycling and remembrance. (I guess R stands for Reflection, Recycling, and Remembrance)
I have a tendency to "recycle" my main character in certain of my short stories. I borrow many traits from my heroine in one work and bestow them upon the heroine of my next story. Why? Because I like the character I once created in a short story that to this day is my favorite piece. And I need to learn to separate myself from her. Otherwise, boredom and complacency will ensue.
My struggle to imagine and develop unique characters who will be remembered by my (future) readers is a natural extension of my recycling. I need to step outside of myself and create that which I do not feel comfortable and familiar with.
I need to start clearing that forest.