My computer was broken and now it’s not, so that’s why I’m writing.
I never really write when my computer works. The power button is broken on it, so I must always keep it on and suspended when I’m not using it. But sometimes I let it go too long without charging it, so it drains battery and goes into deep discharge or whatever, and I can’t turn it on again. My husband fixes it for me, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll really work this time; and in that moment before it switches on again I panic and think, “What if my computer’s broken? What about my book?”
I think it’s similar to what your mind goes to when you think about your house burning down. What will you grab first? 99% of the things I would grab are electronic. If my son was a robot, it’d be 100%.
But my computer has come back on, and it’s scared me into writing again. That’s the only thing that can get me back into it. Otherwise there’s this weird space I live in where I want to do things, and I hope they get done, but I do absolutely nothing besides wishing about it to make it happen.
I have an excuse, you know. He’s almost two years old and I’m so tired by the end of the day (and in the beginning of the day, and in the middle of it) that writing anything of substance seems like a pipe dream. And I know I have it so lucky because I only have one! When in the world am I supposed to write when I have more than one child?
I know that I’m supposed to find times in the day, these little slivers of minutes and tiny pockets of time to squeeze things in, and sometimes I do. But they’re mostly notes, little directions to myself to apply to a larger work later. And that joy…it’s just not there. I don’t feel a ton of joy when I write; I just mainly feel less guilty for not writing earlier.
I know that vocations, while there can be joy found in them, do not equivocally equal joy. Motherhood is a vocation; and while there is a ton of joy to be found in it, it lives under the surface – it’s not really found in the action of mothering. It’s not a joyful thing to try to patch a large hole that was torn in your bathroom blinds by your toddler; it’s not a joyful thing in and of itself to retrieve -for the 100th time – the ball he threw under the couch because his little arms aren’t long enough to reach it. (Neither are mine; I have to move the couch over and over again. My poor floors.) But the joy is in his smile; his laugh when he gets how to stack his cups so they don’t fall over, or when he says a words and knows it sounds like the way Mom and Dad say it. That’s joy, and it’s there.
Writing, too, has its joy for me. It’s not in the actual sitting down to write; it’s not in the planning; it’s not in the procrastinating; it’s not in the endless loop of “this word would have been better instead” that plays through my head at night just before bed. It’s in finishing a blog post and sending it in. It’s in knowing that something I wrote will resonate with someone else.
But it’s not enough. I need to find that joy again, because it’s draining out of me and I don’t want to lose it.
One of my husband’s best friends from college has a sister who sold her first book recently. I got to meet her (her name’s Leah) and her awesome family a few years ago, and I was really excited to see that she’d “made it.” She wrote on her blog yesterday asking the question of how people handle their time management as writers and mothers. What’s your balance? She asked.
I don’t know. I don’t have balance. But I do know that I can learn, and try.
Can I tell you when I hate? I hate people who say they’re going to do things and never do it. I just stare at their Instagrams and their Facebook posts bemoaning the fact that they will, but they just can’t, and they should, and I just feel like shouting, “Who cares? Stop telling people you’re going to do something and just do it! And don’t tell anyone about it! It makes you look moronic!”
But I hate them because their lie reflects my lie. I do the exact same thing.
And ego has so much to do with it. Why do I feel so much pressure when I don’t write? Is it because I should be writing? Because I was “made for it” or “born to do it?” Or is it because I’m afraid that if I don’t write something of value to the world, then I will consequently be useless? That my life will have no meaning? That people will forget that I was ever on the Earth?
(It’s a deep afternoon, everyone.)
Ugh, my son’s napping and has developed an awful cough.
Away I go!