My Own Worst Enemy
I love to write...right? I mean of course I do. I love it. But loving it and doing it is not an easy balance for me these days.
As so many other writers before me have discovered, my mind has become my own worst enemy. It's the center of both incredible creations that push me upwards towards my dreams and self-destructive, procrastinating thoughts, begging for a little more time to avoid them.
Most days it takes every ounce of energy I have to sit down to work on an original piece. When I don't, I feel worthless. Stuck. Unable to see my future as amounting to anything but an old housewife who is okay at cooking but terrible at housework. When I do, I'm elated. Could not be more proud and inspired.
So why am I not allowing myself this daily bliss more often? Life. Life is why.
I was writing what?
As a writer, there is always a consistent reel of stories running through my head.
Some days it's filled with children's stories and tall tales in random order. Other days, I find myself consumed with a single idea for a novel, obsessing over the storyline in an unhealthy manner for weeks at a time. Scary, but necessary.
When COVID hit, my freelance work was down and I was a creative writing maniac. I was jotting, I was plotting, I was really getting into the swing of writing my own stories again.
But then, life happened. Or at least I realized that it was happening again. Various and random things began to easily draw my focus away again:
My kid(s) got sick.
Homeschool turned to hell.
My youngest kids figured out how to plot against me.
A birthday needed planning.
I got sick.
Laundry got out of control.
Another birthday needed planning.
A friend got married.
I stayed up too late to achieve an ounce of adult time and it took days to recover.
Another birthday needed planning.
Freelance projects started again.
My parents came to visit and the house was disastrous. Holiday. Flu season.
We got a dog...we got a dog?!
Another birthday...wait, my birthday.
This was just October. But you get the general idea.
Without any effort at all, life can too easily distract me from my goals, leading me to pour all of my time and energy into anything and everything but writing. By the time I'm done playing crisis manager, mom, teacher, maid, cook, bad friend, and distracted spouse, I'm too tired to write, too tired to think, and far too tired to pick up a pen or look into a a brightly lit screen.
Now, I'm not unrealistic. I realize that life is not against me. Life is not technically standing in my way of becoming a published author. Life is not plotting to consume all of my time so that I have none left to go after my dreams.
Granted, there may be a slew of unexpected and unplanned events I could never prepare myself for. But for the most part, my life is my own and I am the one who has to figure out how to manage it.
This is the part when I put my foot down and say enough. No more excuses. I put the effort into creating this site to hold myself accountable for my writing, I might as well use it. (Side Note: I think this is also the time I should search for the amazing coffee mug above. The message is blunt and simple. Right up my alley.)
And so for a few hours in the morning, I am now ONLY a writer. My fiancé watches the boys, makes sure they stay alive, fed, and far away from the upstairs where I hide. I've taken on a number of projects that I can't possibly complete within such a short time, but that keep me going strong, determined to succeed.
It's true when they say that being a mother makes you more grateful for alone time and inspires you to spend it more wisely. While some opt in for reading a book or taking a walk, catching up on housework or taking a nap, I'm choosing to flood my brain with additional stress and deadlines. I work best under pressure, even when it comes to creativity. And if I'm not feeling a bit stressed about something, it's probably not all that important (to me) anyhow.
I can already hear the house exploding beneath my feet as I try to stretch out the last few minutes of uninterrupted work time. End scene, while I'm on the up. Wish me luck.