How I Connected to My Writing by Disconnecting from It
Written by
Nancy Chadwick
January 2018
Written by
Nancy Chadwick
January 2018

New Year resolutions come and go. They are made with a vengeance, fade mid-year and then are soon forgotten. The many resolutions I see and read, in print, on broadcast, in the stratosphere of the internet, once private, are made public with an outpouring of mind, body and soul. Most resolve to lose weight, eat better, perhaps make peace and be kinder. We resolve to disconnect from the bad to connect with good, to place our minds, bodies and spirit in better places. We want to feel that comfortable spot, much like when we are at home.

In my forthcoming memoir, Under the Birch Tree, I discover connections and find home, a place to be. Starting in the front yard of my girlhood home, a birch tree, standing tall and arabesque, becomes my buddy and first connection synonymous with home. This connection becomes my reference as I encounter many disconnections throughout my years. But I always come back to home through familiar sounds, comfortable places, awakening scents, warm embraces— those connections I discover along the way.

At the end of 2017, I realized publication of my memoir was just six months away. With a June publication date by She Writes Press, I became dizzy with too much connecting with too much social media, outputting of content, promotional pushing, reaching out to followers and influencers, all in the name of establishing my brand and promoting my book. I grew weary of my required reading that I lost my place to be. Consequently, my writing stopped; my drive to get it down, to write memoir, had fizzled. In rushing to connect to all things, to balance what I had put on myself, I disconnected from the very thing that was my home. As much as I relied on my connections to feed my writing, I lost my place to be. I didn’t feel comfortable; I didn’t feel like I was at home.

In my memoir, I learn that disconnections are opportunities. When I experience a disconnection, I discover a connection that placed me in a good place to be. When I move from Chicago, a city I loved, worked in, traveled around and grown to known, I carry the consequences of my voluntary departure to San Francisco. There, I immediately take to my new city, venture on hikes, explore neighborhoods, hear in-line skaters buzz by, taste the sour dough in a bread bite. I turn my experiences, what is the obvious and right in front of me, to a connection, a feel-good, like being home.

And in this new year, instead of making any resolutions, I connect. In stepping away from the very things I depended on to keep my writing on track, I am able to see more clearly and to refocus on writing.

I learn my connections enable me to move forward. What was once a disconnect with my writing becomes a connection with it. And with this new year, I move forward with my writing, picking it up again after a few weeks’ hiatus and starting with a fresh perspective where once upon a time, I discovered connections from disconnections in Under the Birch Tree.

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