Ever since I moved to Siem Reap I’ve been fairly anti-social. That is to say, whenever I’ve been asked to be part of a group, an outing or even a casual meal, I’ve thought about it a great deal because: 1) I’m such a homebody, and 2) I’m working on my second memoir.
Despite what people think, I’m not an extrovert. I love to make people laugh and when I‘m in social situations I can be fun and obnoxious vivacious. So I understand why folks mistake me as someone who feeds on the energy of others. And someone who will liven the party, sooo why don’t you ever come out, Lani!
It took me a while to figure out why I put-on-a-show in public, but then gratefully retreat into a world of books and solitude. It was actually deceptively tricky to realize I needed alone-time to recharge and gain back my sanity. It took snapping at my partners and having meltdowns, let’s sayyy, during a beach holiday, to understand that I’m not a go-go-go person and private space is important.
Sometimes I even close the bedroom door just to pretend I’m alone!
When I took the Myers-Brigg personality test (I’m an INFJ) and I read how this type is EXACTLY like this, I felt some delight in knowing this was perfectly natural behavior for some of us.
I went to a writer’s conference in Bangkok with my friend JP and I remember her telling me about her writer friend who was speaking there. When they were working together in South Korea, Marisa never went out, she just told everyone she was writing, then she got published and even ended up with a healthy advance from a publishing company.
That struck with me. Not the healthy amount of money she got (okay, that, too), but how she made writing a priority. When I thought about priority, I thought about first-thing-in-the-morning or writing every day, or moving abroad so I could afford to work less and create more time for writing. I contemplated my social life in Chiang Mai and how I kept up my blog, but how my unfinished book sat almost finished, but not finished, and waiting for my dear attention.
So when I moved to Chiang Rai, I finally finished my first book – after years and years of dragging it from one end of the United States to the other, and then off to two other continents. I never considered myself a procrastinator before, but I don’t know what you call that. Laziness? Fear? Timing?
These days, I suppose it feels good to know that I made writing a priority and that my second endeavour won’t take as long to print. I guess I’ve learned my lesson and I know a new one will be waiting around the book end because there always is. Blogging took a backseat though. I suppose something had to. No regrets.
As I’m awaiting editing notes from my first round of readers, I’m enjoying being a little more social, relishing in the pause before I dive deep into notes that will probably make me doubt myself. I’ll probably start cleaning the apartment furiously to avoid the work, while I try to figure out what to keep, throw out, move and add.
How do you find the time to write?