Friday, July 19, 2013

Don't Fit It In. Make It Fit.

Everyone who knows me knows that my biggest complaint has been finding the time to write my stories and poetry. Four kids, other work and deadlines always seem to come first. But the last few weeks, I’ve had a few interactions that finally helped me realize that time isn’t the problem.

I’m the problem.

First, there was this:
Me (whining): “I don’t have enough time to write my stuff. I manage to get the deadline stuff done, but only by constantly telling the kids to leave me alone I’m working.”
Writer Friend: My writing time happens on my schedule.
Me (thinking to myself): Why can’t I do that?

Then there was this:
Un-Named Family Member Who Is Not One of My Kids: “You finished work yet?”
Me: “I still have to do some writing for my story.”
UNFMWINOOMK: “Oh, so you’re done work then?”
Me: (thinking to myself): Seriously? Isn’t my writing work?

I overheard this...
One of my kids: “Mom still working?”
Another kid: “Nah, she’s just writing.”

Finally there was this:
One of My Kids (throwing a major guilt trip my way): “What’s more important to you... your writing or your children?”
Me: (Out loud, because the guilt trip & general disrespect finally pissed me off enough): “It’s not an either/or question! My work is AS IMPORTANT!”

Unless you have magic pants... 
It finally dawned on me that I’ve been treating my story writing like a favorite pair of blue jeans that didn’t fit any more. You love those jeans so much that you keep doing that Shimmy-Wiggle, Jump-Pull, Zipper-Ripper Yoga routine. Even if you finally manage to get those jeans on, by the time you’re done, you’re exhausted and uncomfortable.

Sooner or later, you realize it’s pointless. You either have to give up and get rid of the pants altogether, or change your routine to lose weight so you can fit in those jeans you love again.

I can’t buy a new family. But I can change how I respond to their attitude toward my writing. When they hassle me with repeated, “Are you done work yet?” My answer is a simple, “No.” I now have a schedule for my story writing, and I’m defending it just as I would if I were working on a deadline.

I’m no longer “just writing” any more.

I’m working. --WNG

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