Writing is Hard. And Stuff.
I’ve hardly written in almost a year.
Sure. The odd blog post here and there, but on the whole, I’ve been a writing deadbeat.
It’s so hard with kids and a job (and I only work three days a week!! And I can work from home!!) to find time to sit in front of my laptop and string sentences worth any merit together.
Even my trusty stack of books, always at least three on the go at one time, have been neglected. I think there was even some dust on one. (Preteen Brittany is mortified at 32 year old Brittany.)
And lately, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night panicking. In between the “SHIT the tooth fairy needs to come!!” and “did I put a diaper on Grady before bed?” I remember that I have an almost finished manuscript, a mentor, and enough positive feedback from an agency to surge ahead with making writing more than a hobby. But for whatever reason, I can’t seem to mount that insurmountable hurdle which is time, and energy.
I fight between giving myself the permission to step back for right now, and knowing that like any muscle, writing requires daily work and dedication to grow. And no one is going to call me up and ask to publish an unfinished, unpolished, piece of work.
My life is hectic at best. I know we hear this all the time.
“Moms are so busy, WE GET IT!!”, *eyeroll* you must be yelling at the screen.
Physically I am running to and from hockey, football, school, cheerleading, riding lessons, appointments and work so much that I may start giving “Blue Dodge Caravan” as my permanent address.
But the part a lot of moms don’t, or maybe can’t, verbalize is that it's more than just activities that drain you. It’s all the cerebral energy given to disciplining, teaching, organizing, (I am literal organized chaos at all times. Supermom does not live here) that has me scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook at the end of the night, looking at other people’s inspiration.
Being a parent drains you of energy that isn’t necessary. And, with anything that permeates that other part of your brain, the artistic quadrant (half?? Listen I took arts not science), it’s inspiration and the right headspace to really create anything out of that I’m struggling with. Writer’s block sounds better than “mainlining Pretty Little Liars on Netflix” but regardless I’m having a HELL of a time finding the focus, ambition and mostly inspiration to write.
I take time for myself, no doubt, I am a woman of the 21st century. I ride horses, escape to horse shows across the US, and have girl’s nights. But while nurturing the part of me that demands time spent away from responsibilities and potty-training, that other side of my brain (again.. not sure how many sides there is), is acutely aware that somewhere at home the cursor is blinking on a big ‘ol empty page.
But today as I was doing my daily ritual of quote-reading and using up all my free articles on Elephant Journal, inspiration finally hit me like a thunderbolt and an idea I had swirling in my brain for years suddenly had a construct.
A story, half created, which had sat dormant in my spinning brain finally ‘big-banged’ together and before I knew what I was doing, I was at my laptop madly typing.
Then tonight, a second sort of divine intervention took place (I hear Mars is in Venus or something.. maybe that’s it?) my husband and I miraculously had twenty minutes where we found ourselves alone and actually talking. Like not “hey what are you working tomorrow? Where is hockey? Is the dog still in the backyard?” but TALKING, which if you are the parent in a busy household, you get.
By the way isn’t it scary when you can’t remember the last time that happened? Maybe it’s the beauty of being in a stable, content relationship... because while he’s the first call I make happy, mad or freaking out, it’s the nuances of daily life that can sometimes escape dinner conversations. The type you are too busy or lazy to text, and that are long lost or irrelevant a day later.
So I was literally shaking with anticipation to his response when I started laying it all out. And while it’s always hard to verbalize these sort of creative, and therefore deeply personal ideas, the security of it being his face I was scanning as I was neurotically telling, reminded me of this quote:
Dina Craik wrote, “Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
And finally tonight, instead of a diatribe on what’s so wrong with people who don’t like pickles, I was able to get out something I didn’t even realize had been taking up so much room in that ‘brain piece’ (I give up knowing the parts of the brain. I’m aware a quick google search could solve it.).
I finally knew everything about the story I was dying to write.
I regaled the tale.. rough and breathless as I typed and talked to him. New ideas coming as fast as I could talk.. which, if you know me, is pretty damn fast.
As I talked, typed and nearly hyperventilated, he took it all in. (Once he closed his eyes and I smacked him and said “OMG DO NOT FALL ASLEEP”. He swore his eyes were just itchy… right)
He thought about it, and I, my biggest critic was waiting for him to say “but this is TOTALLY different than what you’ve been working on” or “ that is going to take a lot of time and research”. But he didn’t.
He half smiled, told me not to get freaked out by all the work ahead of me, and to just start writing. That’s it
Then he made at least three inappropriate comments, I smacked him again, and as magically as our solitude came, the beasts were circling the door again. Ben wanted to know if he could watch another youtube video, Grady had stolen all the pink playdoh and mixed it with green, causing hysterical crying from Annabelle.
Sometimes doing anything but surviving these days seems overwhelming. All-encompassing, all-consuming, and perhaps the actual living metaphor of burning the candle at both ends.
But when inspiration strikes, and when your brain is hardwired to vehemently reject the mundane, to choose the path less travelled (see what I did there Frost fans) I guess it’s what I’ll do.
In the meantime, any freelance editors out there looking for work? I pay in many emojis, witty remarks and plenty of sarcasm.