I thought about writing today.
It was cold this morning. Cold and dry, after more than a week of rain that ranged from heavy to downpour. The hubby was gone already, headed to the Midwest for a few days. I’m sure he probably kissed me goodbye before he walked out the door, but I didn’t stir till my alarm went off at 6:00.
I got the kids up, made my bed, showered, and came out to the first argument of the day. Tears, yelling, teen angst, the whole bit. Talked them down. One kid didn’t want to go to school–sick, he said. I made him go anyway. Another fight, another complaint, more dawdling before I finally made it out the door with the kid whose school starts later than the rest.
Traffic obstacles made us a little later than normal, but still on time. Barely. Cheated in the drop-off lane–didn’t drive all the way to the far door because he needed the extra couple of minutes going through the front door could buy him.
Home. Tired. Sitting. “Just a few minutes on Facebook,” I said. Famous last words. The dog saw I was sitting, so he jumped onto my lap. There’s never a bad time for canine therapy. After an hour, pushed the dog off my lap and tidied up a little.
I still thought about writing.
The day is still before me, the tasks, endless. Christmas cards, gifts, baking exert unspoken, societal pressure. I still don’t know what to get the in-laws and parents–what does one get for retired folks who buy what they need and want? “Oh, you don’t need to get us anything,” they’ll all say–all four of them. “We know you’re busy.” But what kind of daughter does that make me?
AHG–so many things to plan for next year, so much to work on. The dates are always closer than I realize, and I already feel like I’m just phoning it in, this last year of my job. Someone told me I should stay in my position. “You’re really good at it.” I said if my first and second years had looked like this year, I might be able to, but those years set me up for burnout because of how stressful they were.
But even as I said that, I thought about writing.
I want to write. In a way. I think of it all the time. But how can I write when I can’t get the other stuff right? When I’m not pursuing spiritual development the way I want to? I need to exercise and lose weight. I need to get my house decluttered and clean, and I’ve made so much progress the last two months, but how to keep making progress, maintain this new baseline, and find time for anything else?
The kids have given me permission to write. I’ve asked all four. One had some questions. I hope I assured him that it wouldn’t be all-consuming like it was before. But is this what he wanted–that in the interest of not being all-consuming, I would completely eschew it?
I’m at a stage of parenting where I look longingly at women with toddlers and babies and wonder why I ever complained. It looks so easy now. They ate or they didn’t, slept or they didn’t, went to bed long before I did, took naps. Quality time was a snuggle and a story on the couch. Now, quality time is a heavy discussion in the car on the way to yet another activity or event. The mall is 40 minutes away.
Need to plan dinner, get some groceries. Still thinking about writing. It’s in there somewhere, amid the guilt and the busy-ness and the stress and the questions. So many “have tos” with writing, though.
“You can’t write well unless you keep reading voraciously.”
“You need to be in a critique group. How can you write without a critique group?”
“You’ll never break out of the slush pile unless you promote yourself. Mailing lists, tweeting, posting, linking, blogging…”
I need a maid. I need a cook. I need an income. I need adult conversation. I need quiet. I need an office. I need space. I need book covers, ISBNs, copyright registrations, printed versions of the books.
This is a hobby, I tell myself. Writing is a hobby. It’s just a hobby. And how does one justify spending hours a day on a hobby when there is so much to be done? One doesn’t. Hobbies are catch-as-catch-can. How does one justify spending hundreds of dollars on editing, publishing, promoting work that’s just a hobby? One doesn’t.
It’s almost lunch time. I still think about writing. But the day, week, month, year stretch out before me, full of endless “more important” tasks and hobbies that don’t require the same commitment. Knitting is patient. Yarn is forgiving.
What do I want? I want my work promoted and sold. I want people to buy it so that I earn enough money to start justifying spending more time on it. But to promote means to acknowledge it’s more than a hobby. Even more terrifying–to promote means to admit it’s worth promoting.
Oh hi, Anxiety. Nice to see you again.
So I’ll move on with my day. Pay the dentist bill, sweep and mop the floor, declutter the laundry room, pick up the kids, field homework issues and social requests, bake some banana bread, take the girls to AHG, write a few more Christmas cards–probably with the help of a glass of wine–check the calendar for tomorrow, make a “to do” list, and go to bed.
And get up and do it all again tomorrow.
And I’ll still be thinking about writing.