I wonder, sometimes, if I will ever feel like I have enough time to write. When my kids are grown. When there aren’t playdates and piano lessons and grocery shopping twice-weekly. When I can have a dedicated writing schedule that I can actually keep to instead of so often finding myself tending to someone else’s needs during that time I’ve tried to set aside.
That all sounds negative. And it is, I suppose. I don’t mean it to. I love my family. I love being a mother. I love it all, and it’s hard. And what I need most to be fully present in all of the busy complexities is to write. And I’m so lucky to know this. It took me a long time to realize it. And now, the hardest part is to just do it. To Just. Write.
To put time aside is helpful. But sometimes, as now, I need just to step out of the room where the activity is, do my best to tune out the drum practice, the reading aloud of one child to another, the clattering of dishes in the kitchen where someone is getting another snack. I need to slip away mentally even if I’m in full sight of everyone else who lives so close in our cozy home. I need to open the laptop and scrap out a few words. Get my thoughts down. Produce SOMETHING. It’s not likely progress on a novel. Or even an essay. It’s probably not editing of a work in progress that somedayeventuallyIwillsubmitIPROMISE. But it is a blank document, slowly filling, line by line, with words coming out of my fingertips as much as they come from my mind. And it centers me. Even amid the chaos of every day.
Why do I write? The reason is as simple as it is complex. Because I need to. Because it makes me feel I’ve accomplished something. Because it stills my busy mind and allows me to better focus on all that needs my attention. If I start the day pounding out a few words, even clumsily, in a fog of fatigue, nearly incoherent, I am calmer during the day. I am better able to keep my voice to a reasonable decibel when one of the kids drives me mad. I am more even tempered. I move more deliberately through my day. I am able to let new ideas in because I’ve allowed a few out onto the page.
I write because I love the sound of my fingers hitting the keys on the keyboard. I write because I love words. And sentences. And the forming of paragraphs. And the scrolling through a screen and seeing pages and pages. And printing the pages. And reading the words, pen in hand. Editing. Crossing out. Rearranging. The writing and rewriting.
I write because of the magic. Of reading words that I know I wrote. And yet, that I have no real recollection of writing.
I write because I am a writer.
And I wrote this for this month’s Project: Underblog linkup. Join in, won’t you?
Jen Writes, three kids, writing