I've been thinking a lot about this line. I believe it's a quote from a famous writer but have been unable to attribute it (if you know, please point me in the write direction and I'll give credit where it's due). I've been thinking about this quote, because I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, my first NaNoWriMo event. So, I am writing every day, to try and meet my goal on my next novel. I am thinking about writing every day and I'm writing about writing every day.
Recently diagnosed with asthma, I have become aware of my breathing at a level that is new to me. I've practiced meditation, where mindful breathing is key to reach the right place for meditation but that is far from the same thing. I am aware of every single breath I take, whether it is relatively easy or much more difficult to accomplish. When you are forced to suddenly be so aware of something you once took for granted, something that you literally (yes, I know that word is overused to the point of cliche) cannot live without, it changes your perspective on a lot of other parts of your life as well.
And that brings me back to writing. I am painfully aware of not writing, when things transpire and conspire to keep me from writing. Even when I am doing other things that I love to do, my characters are there. As Jill Jepson puts it, in Writing as a Sacred Path, I "wake up to find them sitting at the foot of [my] bed saying, 'Well, have you given us substance yet'?" Even when I read, my writing pops up, insistent and demanding. Watch a movie? It's there. Falling asleep? There. Writer's block is rarely a problem for me. It's yammering characters that haunt me.
Yes, I must breathe to live and I am acutely aware of that fact with every breath. But, I must also write to live and am just as aware of that, with each word I write.