The Writing Life

The Writing Life

I had to throw last week in the scrap pile, as far as routine goes. I don’t know what I was thinking, jumping out of the gate like a race horse. Nothing was normal last week. Monday was a holiday, so I fell behind on Monday stuff. It was also the first week of the month, so I fell behind on first week of the month stuff. Ruthie started school, and her district likes to be all tricky right from the start, confusing me with delayed start times and no school on the second day.

Clearly there was no time to poor out my creative energy.

I ran from the shower once, dripping water all over the floor as I scrambled for my idea notebook – nothing but a towel between myself and the open windows. By the time I found it, the idea escaped my strainer brain and I shoved a chair in frustration.

I feel like a college frat boy who hasn’t had a lay since spring break at Daytona Beach – tense and jittery, on the prowl for opportunity, all filled up with something needing release.

I need a creative one night stand.

Better yet, I need a creative affair.

If I don’t rendezvous in a shady roadside motel soon to unload all this writing angst in my head, I think I may suffer a brain freeze.

The thing is, I can’t write at the dining room table anymore with the kids running around. I can’t steal an hour of writing while the kids nap. I mean I can, but you’ll get things like book reviews and recipes. I love writing those, but what I need to get out of my head are the trains of thought that are going somewhere. I need time and space to pick just the right word, to think straight, to connect tangible with transcendent.

I’m also learning it takes me a long time to crawl down into that well of concentration, to get into the mind space of creation. And once I’m down there, it takes me even longer to climb back out of the well again into real life. If someone pulls me out of the well before I’m ready, I’m grouchy and distracted, unable to check my mind back into reality.

(I read of this well of concentration on someone else’s blog, and it resonated with me. I’m sorry to say I can’t remember whose it was).

I don’t know where I’m going with this. It’s late, and I can’t afford the time it takes to wrap it up neatly with a bow. Maybe I’ll ask a question: how do you make time for the one thing you are passionate about, without neglecting all the “have to’s” in your week?

6 thoughts on “The Writing Life

  1. 15 minutes. I’m trying to take 15 minutes “me” time each day to sew, craft, be inspired. I’m amazed at the jump start my disheveled mind gets with just a little chunk of time.

  2. i wish 15 minutes worked for me, but i’d be way happier with 15 hours!! anyway, i’m a mom of four and a creative thinker and so relate to this paragraph:
    “I’m also learning it takes me a long time to crawl down into that well of concentration, to get into the mind space of creation. And once I’m down there, it takes me even longer to climb back out of the well again into real life. If someone pulls me out of the well before I’m ready, I’m grouchy and distracted, unable to check my mind back into reality.”
    it reminds me of something C.S. Lewis wrote in Surprised by Joy about being way more annoyed at being interrupted than being ignored. sometime, when i have 15 hours, i’ll get out the book and look up the exact quote. : )

  3. I’m beginning to understand the whole “Room of One’s Own” thing. Sure, I don’t have little ones underfoot, but writing in the main house areas isn’t too conducive to digging too deep for too long.

    I was watching a 1950s movie yesterday, and this guy went to his “study,” lined with bookshelves. He lit a fire in the fireplace and settled into his writing desk. My favorite scene in the whole freaking movie, and nothing happened.

  4. You described perfectly that creative frustration. I have no idea how to make time for these essential things when the clamor of the urgent is constantly competing for my time . . .I feel incapable of being creative when the house is a mess or there’s too much left undone. Maybe I just need be able to ignore it . . . I’ll keep checking back here because I’d love to learn if any other moms have figured it out!

  5. Have you considered taking a weekend vacation ALL BY YOURSELF? And repeat this every six months or so? I am going to start doing this when I’m not a nursing mom anymore (yes, this will happen one day…). Get in the car (or save up and rent something cooler than a mini-van) and head to the ocean or someplace relaxing without too many diversions.

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