This post was inspired by On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker & Charity Singleton Craig and was written for an online discussion group about the book over at Kate Motaung’s place.
Chapter 5: WRITE
Though it’s always a bit of a battle actually convincing myself to actually wake the frick up in the wee hours of the morning… I am always glad I did it. Because that rhythm? The rhythm of waking up and having quiet “Jesus time” and then working out and then getting the kids up and ready for school and then running errands or having a playdate with some friends and then utilizing my toddler’s nap-time to simply write? That is a darn good rhythm for me. I love the forgiving structure it gives me. I love that parts of it are malleable and can be switched around as needed, while other parts of it are pretty darn constant.
And, gosh, I sure feel better after I’ve unloaded my thoughts onto screen or paper! As TheUnconventionalDoctorsWife once said: “My brain needs to be emptied on a regular basis.”
The only problem is… I sometimes get distracted during that precious block of time I have designated for writing.
Sometimes my lack of focus is due to the typical “Oh, I’ll just respond to this email or text or fold some of this laundry real quick and then I’ll buckle down to write”… and then, before I know it, two hours have passed…
Or sometimes I desperately need to tidy up the house because guests are coming over later and I don’t want them to see how messy my house usually is…
Or sometimes my husband works all night and gets home just as I’m sitting down to write— so I feel compelled to chat about how his night of crimefighting went…
Or sometimes I’ll get a phone call from someone I never hear from and I figure if I don’t answer it now, I probably won’t catch up with them for another year…
But sometimes? Sometimes I just don’t want to write. Sometimes I’m afraid of what might pour out of me when I settle down and really tap into what’s going on inside this heart and mind of mine. Basically, sometimes I feel called to write about something that is just… not something I feel I have the courage to write about right now. As Charity said in the book, “we have something to say that can only come from us”… yet there are times when I’m simply “not sure if it’s worth it.” Sometimes when I’m tapping into some of those deep— and sometimes dark— places inside me, I feel like I’m just starting to really get to the nitty gritty when my son wakes up or it’s time to go pick the kids up from school or it’s 8pm and my poor kids are starving and tired of watching movies and “entertaining themselves.” Or, if I’ve attempted to write after the kids are down, I’ll soon discover that it’s 2, 3, 4am and I’m still not quite there but I really ought to go to sleep for goodness sake!
So sometimes I’m afraid I’ll have to break off from the writing process just when it gets “good”… and the anticipation of ending it midstream is just enough to make me hold back from writing at all.
I find that my Evernote app on my phone has been a helpful tool for capturing my thoughts when I’m on the go. Sometimes I’ll open up a doc on there and dictate some thoughts while I’m on my way to pick up the kids or when I’m on a walk or a hike. Or I’ll start different writing ideas on there and then revisit them weeks or months later when I’ve learned more about the topic or feel more compelled to dive in. So that is helpful.
But those times wherein I have to break away just when I’m starting to hit my stride? Those are hard for me. Emotionally, spiritually, and time-management-wise.
So the balance is hard.
But yes: Write. I know, I know. I need to just do it. Even when it’s a little scary to me. And even when I’m not sure how or when I’ll ever be able to finish that rabbit trail of ideas.
What about you?
When do you write? What are some of your personal struggles or frustrations when it comes to writing regularly and fitting the practice of writing into your life?
Please feel free to share your comments or your own journey in the comment section below.