The following is a guest post by Meghan Hill, author of Making Room For You: A Practical Guide to Organizing You Home. If you would like to write a guest post on my blog, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I was little, I wanted to be a visual artist. My paternal Grandmother, an oil painter, encouraged this by giving me sketchbooks, colored pencils, watercolors and paints for my birthdays and at Christmas. I took these with me everywhere. I drew all the time. No one responded to my work so at age eight, I put away all the art supplies and began writing instead.
I’m 35 now and few days have gone by when I haven’t written. I can’t imagine a life without writing. It’s my shelter and release. It’s how I make sense of the world, my life, and relationships. It’s how I process all I absorb from books, music, film, and art.
Throughout high school, college, and beyond, my brother would ask what I was doing for work. Depending on the era, I answered, “Waiting tables,” or “Working for a non-profit,” or “Supporting a law firm.” He’d respond, “Well, you’re doing that now. But you’re a writer.” I dismissed it because I believed writers were strictly best-selling novelists working in high-ceilinged rooms with stucco walls, wood floors, stacks of books, and a dizzying array of crumpled papers and ink stains. Writers wrote fiction (only) and were moody and solitary folks, unreachable. A “writer” had a team: editors, agents, publishers, a handler, a beleaguered spouse, on again/off again friends, and adoring readers.
I denied I was a writer for over two decades because I didn’t fit these criteria, even though all I’ve ever done consistently is write. I’d like to say it was a relief to finally admit that I am a writer. But it came with a host of anxieties and expectations. When I allowed myself to include “writer” as part of my identity, I knew I’d have to do something with it. I’d spent years demanding a novel of myself. I’ve written poetry, short stories, songs, and attempted longer works of fiction.
When I accepted that I write, I had been organizing homes and offices. I was good at it. I was good at helping people determine what they did and didn’t need in their environments. I was good at making spaces look pretty and setting up systems to keep items in order. But I was great at listening to my clients. I was best at collecting their stories, empathizing with them, learning who they were and what they’d experienced by going through their physical belongings and artifacts with them.
So I saw an opportunity to write my first book, Making Room for You: A Practical Guide to Organizing Your Home, which covers useful aspects of organizing and delves deeper into the heart, spirit and psyche of who we are vis-à-vis our stuff. I wrote it in a month and thanks to the relative ease of self-publishing, it was for sale immediately. This freed me from wondering what to write and how to share it.
I’ve abandoned the notion of becoming a novelist. It doesn’t occur to me to write novels. I have well over a million words I’ve already written sitting on our office shelves. I’m now working on publishing over 25 years worth of my journals and releasing them in 80,000-word volumes in chronological order. I’m publishing the story of my life and there’s nothing on earth I’d rather do. Connecting with people through words is what I was born to do.
About the author and her work: Meghan Hill’s Blog.