On Honouring the Process

The other day, a deer crossed my path. Startled we both stopped and stared, for a split second, before sprinting into different directions. A simple explanation for this encounter is that it’s spring and all living things are awake and roaming about. But I’m the kind of person, who sees signs or tries to find meaning in everything. You might say I’m a binge thinker but I view myself as a good listener, more especially from nature.

I bet deer are always lurking in the periphery of cities, more especially here with abundant forests and right on our backyards. But what took my breath away, at that specific moment, I was alone with the deer on a path that is usually busy with people going about their business after a workday.

As I write this piece, I’m a bit shocked and saddened by a message in my inbox this morning from one of my favourite Steampunk writers, announcing they will no longer continue to write and publish. I’ll admit, I shed a tear or two. First, because this pandemic is hard and has disrupted so many things. Second, because I’ve been especially hard on myself of late, concerning my lack of time and resources to publish my work.

So completely has a whole year passed, with scarcely the fruits of a month. . . I have done nothing! ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Anyway, it turns out a deer crossing one’s path has a number of meanings, But the one I took away is about gentleness and compassion instead of it as a sign to perhaps give something up. Because I can never imagine myself not writing. I also learned Coleridge stopped writing poetry at 32 years of age because he was no longer able write “serious” poetry.

As I honour my process by being patient and compassionate to myself, I’m also putting out a plea. If you are a creative, please don’t quit! We might never know, in our lifetime, how our work impact others. But perhaps in a distant future, someone might find something of value from our endeavours.

p.s. Featured photo by Dustin Romeiro on Unsplash. I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. Khaya, bless the deer for finding you at just the right moment. To have you stop, think and feel. I agree, there was a reason for the meeting. I’m smiling at the phrase ‘binge thinker’ — can I borrow that for myself?! 😀 Yes, listening seems to go hand in hand with this trait …

    I’m sorry your blogger friend is leaving and understand you’ll miss the contact and also feel for the loss to you and themselves of the cessation of their work!

    Your beautiful plea to us all feels like serendipity, in my moments of doubt I will come across something and today someone – you! Yes, I will let patience, gentleness and compassion be my lead … never giving up!

    Wishing you well, my dear friend and be kind to yourself in your creative journey! You’ve already achieved lot and so much more in the future! Hugs, Annika xx ❤️🌺

    Ps. Must mention my encounter with a ‘herd’ of twelve deer crossing in front of my car one evening on the way to the local town. Six muntjacs and six deer, just in front of me. I love how the wildlife reclaimed their territory during the lockdowns and not giving up easily! Magical moments and my heart felt full with joy!

  2. Hej Annika! I borrowed the phrase ‘binge thinker’ from someone else too, I don’t think they’ll mind if you use it. 😀 Though you better be careful with this thinking too much, it can be both a blessing and a curse.

    Actually, the Steampunk author I’m talking about here was not a friend nor a blogger, and I had never had any direct conversation with even via social networks. See it goes back to the not knowing to whom your work is making an impact! But yes, she was introduced to me by another blogger writer I follow here, and writing in the same genre. It’s a big community this blogsphere. 🙂

    So, this author is one of those I took up to and loved how she does steampunk, and thus ended signing up for her newsletter. Even though not “mainstream”, she had dedicated fans like me and a reasonably large following. I guess I never expected a complete halt, because writers are known to take long breaks rather than leave the whole exercise behind.

    Anyway, it hit home also because I know of close writer friends as well as other creatives who are struggling to create with this pandemic. And some have temporarily sort jobs in traditional industries until such time it is viable to create…

    But I’m super glad to hear that my plea feels like serendipity, to you. Please be gentle with yourself, my friend. Let’s rather enjoy the journey than worry much about reaching goals and outcome.

    And yeah, apparently wildlife is reclaiming space…But your encounter with a herd of deer sounds like a magical moment, indeed. Enjoy your Sunday, dear Annika! <3

  3. This is good advice and i need it now. Since i am angry at my latest publisher who allowed a hugh error to slip into my most recent publication. I really feel like quitting. I feel like my hard work is not taken seriously.
    BUT thanks, i know i shouldn’t quit

    Happy you fropped by my blog today Khaya


  4. Thanks to you too Gillena for reading. I’m sorry you hear that you’re feeling angry, at present. Mistakes do happen, and hopefully the error will get sorted. Don’t quit, keep at it!

    All the best with promoting your recent publication! Much love. <3

  5. No, don’t quit. I like that advice, Khaya. Especially this year. The pandemic took a huge toll on creativity and well being, the stress almost debilitating. We need to come out the other side and breathe a little before making big decisions. Compassion and gentleness is a wonderful approach to this year of more change. Hugs.

  6. Khaya, thank you for an insightful comment. I love your description on your process of creativity: you are a “binge thinker” ! And I thought I was the only one. Going on a walk in nature triggers poetry for me. There are such events as creative blocks too. When I encountered that as a sewing artist, I put what I was doing aside, took a walk, slept well and was refreshed and ready to continue. Sometimes I feel in a rut with creativity, but I plod on. My advice (unsolicited): “and this too shall pass.” Be well and put these surprise encounters in your memory bank for a future poem or story. Be kind and gentle with your creative spirit. Enjoy the weekend. oxox

  7. I can’t imagine myself not writing. Not even it things get rough, or if my work doesn’t feel… great. It would be like giving up walking because I’ve developed a limp. I just can’t imagine. I will always write. I need to.

  8. I’ve found that last paragraph to be very true. The photo of the deer is very beautiful <3

  9. Not quitting is the sanest, most compassionate thing a writer/poet can do. Write on!

  10. I have tried to give up writing before, but it always comes back to me. Though sometimes a break here and there has been helpful, the need to play with words, shape them into something that brings a little joy or clarity to my life is always with me. I’d like to see that little deer as a messenger to keep doing the things that bring you joy, despite the almost crushing heaviness of the world sometimes.

  11. I am one who can’t not write – though there have been occasional pauses, which I have learnt to trust as input time.

    How delightful to meet a deer on your path! We don’t have them wild here. When I was in America in 2006 (Kerrville, Texas specifically) I loved seeing them. It was quite common there, but I gather not so much where you were walking. I too would be looking for the message in your encounter.

  12. I love that you begin your piece with your magical encounter with the deer, Khaya, Deer frequently wander in my garden and I will never tire of watching them. I also see signs in things, for example the robin that flew in my window a while back. Listening to nature is not only enlightening but also comforting. Although it’s a shock when someone you admire stops doing the thing that you enjoy, but I’m sure they have a good reason for it. But we all have fallow times. I find the best way to get through them is to keep writing, no matter what – there is always the option to rewrite, or even delete poetry that isn’t ‘serious’. No quitting here!

  13. For one so young (I guess that’s a relative sort of thing), your post is filled with poetically written wisdom. Us creative (he)artists need this reminder – thank you for being the messenger, Khaya.
    Keep on, keepin’ on!

  14. That is so true, we need breathe a little before making big decisions as well as being kind to ourselves. I can assure you, I’m not making any big decisions thing side 🙂 but continue to write. You keep on writing too! Hugs…xx

  15. Hi Maryann, lovely to see you here. So, it seems binge thinkers are not that rare after all. 🙂 Thank you for your advice and encouraging words, I appreciate you reading. And you are correct, put things aside and take a break from time to time does wonders, and so is a walk in nature. I shall make use of the memory bank, thank you. Keep well, and keep creating! <3

  16. Yeah, I keep that last paragraph in my mind myself. It sort of releases me from the need for instant gratification. Thank you, Kathy. And the photo of the deer I found from Unsplash; a great resource when I don’t have my own pics. <3

  17. You make a good point there with pauses as input time, too. I think this “new” culture of always doing something, being busy all the time, is problematic and can make one feel as if they are not doing enough.

    Lovely to learn about your time and experience with deer in Texas. They are rather interesting creatures. And even though we have them here, they usually stay far from human settlements. So, yes it was rather wonderful to meet one and make contact with.

  18. Thank you, Kim. I’m so happy that I’m not the only one who tend to see signs in thing, and at least, we get inspiration from these observations. 🙂 Yes, nature especially in these crazy times with the pandemic is very comforting.

    And oh, absolutely! I’m sure the said author had a very good reason to stop writing and publishing. We all have own reasons that keep us writing, and sometimes the goal is not to even publish but to put some truths down on paper. So, yes let’s keep writing, and rewriting, there’s joy in revisiting old works too!

  19. Thank you so much Laura for your encouraging words, too. I’m super happy you find this reminder useful. Let’s keep on, keepin’ on! 🙂

  20. Khaya, A good night’s rest is not to be underestimated. With rest and relaxation comes a renewed creative spirit. Thank you for the appreciative comment. Be well. ❤️ oxox

  21. Truly beautiful post Khaya! Thank you! I am so happy the deer visited you! I’m always aware of signs around me. It’s so true, you never know, how our work impacts others. I know for myself, my art was kind of lost over a year and a half, but it has came back with such passion and I am loving it, all the way! Big Hugs and keep safe!!

  22. I am glad the deer crossed your path to cue your thinking and remind you to keep going. I know I have wanted to quit so many times over the past year or so. Sheer stubbornness keeps me going, but I will take it. Creating is painful, but that pain also drives the creation — a vicious yet beautiful cycle.

  23. Dearest Stacy, thanks to you too for those encouraging words. And your beautiful and profound art inspires always. Keep painting, my friend! Big Hugs xx

  24. So well said, Christina…it’s a vicious yet beautiful cycle. And thank goodness for stubbornness, it has its use. It also certainly helps to hear I’m not alone in this sometimes lonely business. Keep writing!

  25. Seeing a deer is a lovely sign, Khaya. Creativity can be a difficult thing to keep going, especially during times like these, and I feel it, too. You are not alone. Keep writing, and finding those sources of inspiration and beauty where you can. I am sorry to hear one of your favorite writers is giving up. They may return someday, though. Everything is temporary.

Do leave a trace!