Returning to writing with abandon is, as I have noted before, refreshing and fortifying and homey. But it is not without its challenges.
When last I wrote madly, my life looked a little different. There was no Brad, and the Pearl was much, much smaller. I was used to being sleep deprived and I wasn’t getting laid regularly. Not that getting laid regularly soothes my soul completely, but it certainly helps.
My old writing schedule: Wake up at early o’clock. Do the business of life. Class, Martha Stewart, Cook, Nurse, Change Diapers, etc. 7:30, Pearl to bed, 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., write write write write write, start over.
My new writing schedule: Wake up at early o’clock. Get dressed, get Pearl ready for school, make coffee, check calendar for deadlines & scheduled interviews, read stuff that I’m getting paid to read in a damn hurry before 3:20. Write stuff I’m getting paid to write in the same manner. 3:20, go get Pearl. Do laundry. Cook dinner. 5:30, Brad comes home. 6:00 dinner, 7:30, threaten Pearl with bodily injury if she doesn’t hurry up and eat 3 pieces of meat or vegetable, then bath time, then bed time, then 8:30 I’m off the mom clock, but I’m on the girlfriend clock, so I watch TV or play Plants Vs. Zombies with Brad, then by 10:00 I’m a mess in my mind & ready to hit the hay.
But now I’m so much back to the writing habits of mind that stories wake me up. Blog posts, essays, all of it. I stir in the night. So I get out of bed, and I come down to my office and I tap tap tap away at the keyboard, but I’m so wasted physically and intellectually that what comes out is generally worthless.
Also, I’m out of a writing community. I don’t have a writers’ group anymore. I don’t have writing friends who will read my junk and encourage me and remind me what I remind my clients and students, that it’s not always about writing anything that’s good. All writing is writing practice. Inspiration will strike, but in the meantime write write write. Not that I need the encouragement to write write write. I would do that regardless. If my hands got cut off, I would write with my tongue, or into a Dictaphone.
But we all need to feel like we’re not alone, and when one writes, one is often alone.
And sure, I could give up some of my Plants Vs. Zombies time with Brad, but to what effect? I would be endangering my relationship, and my relationship is the only reason I can have this awesome freelancing life. Without someone to pay the other half of the bills and hang out with P when the only time a musician can talk is at 7:00 p.m?
I would be back to living in a shoebox of an apartment, scrambling around to get it together, and food stamps. While I didn’t mind that life, and I enjoyed the different freedom of poverty, I have to pay for college in like 12 years.
I just can’t have it all I suppose.
So to leave you with something more than reverie, I’m going to make this a resolution. I’m going to challenge you to do the same.
1. Write when I can. What I can. I feel like I should be an expert at quieting my unproductive inner editor, but I’m not. I will anyway.
2. I will be grateful for the time I can use to write, and not worry about needing more, even if I do.