Well here I step gently back into the blogging sphere. I am a bit apprehensive. I am not sure what I am willing or able to commit to here. I feel my life has flipped around.
Dad telling me stories over Christmas.
A childhood Christmas. I am the one in the middle.
In December life finally made me realize that I was fighting a current, trying to paddle paddle as hard as I could against the flow. Perhaps instead of fighting the current I could get where I want to go much easier if I simply flowed with the current? What I am trying to say is that homeschooling/being-a-mom is my focus. It is a passion of mine as well as writing and I was trying to make writing a priority and family life was constantly pushing its way into writing. I was resentful and frustrated with my family’s darn interruptions yet I know I am going to miss them terribly when I don’t have them anymore.
Making our first gingerbread house. Hopefully the beginning of a tradition.
Over the last month I have really settled into this idea that I am going to let writing be mostly for me while I keep up with your stories.
I began working with a writing coach at the end of 2012 to complete Sunlight. It didn’t feel like a good way to end the year in a way. She made me realize that I had to start my book over. While this is good news, and I totally respect her opinion, it was a real bummer to put it mildly.
Brooke asked me if I wanted to write about my marriage, parenting or burnout … I realized I was all over the place and this is why Sunlight seemed so confusing and, well, too much for me. Cause it is too much. I do believe I have a new plot now. Well not a new plot but an adjusted, more focused one and I hope I can share these new changes and chapters with you in the weeks and possibly months to come as I get back on the Sunlight project. I would love your advice as well.
Between working on Sunlight privately, journalling (I have the book The New Diary by Tristine Rainer – love her thoughts on writing!), focusing on my family (I am starting a daycare and a Waldorf co-op), plus running two memoir writing groups, I will not be blogging as often but I will do my darndest to keep up with everyone else’s wonderful and inspiring stories.
Whenever I post a blog WordPress gives me a writing quote. I am not sure if this happens to everyone or if it is just my template. Regardless, the quote I received when I last posted has been ringing in my ears. It went something like this “Blogging isn’t about writing, it is about reading blogs.” I am not sure who the author is. The words stuck into my mind not the name.
The quote was a jab at me. It seemed to know my soft spot. It seem to know that I worry I could be doing more. Reading more blogs, writing more and, well, just doing more in my life professionally and personally.
Yesterday I went for a walk with my three-year old daughter. She woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning so I had to put off writing for another day. She kicked off her sandles and went running down a path on our back five acres. I walked behind her and Chances, my dog, running around chasing birds of every kind.
All of a sudden I hear the wind brushing against my ear, the blades of grass rustling blade against blade and the sound of a young girl’s giggle in the distance. I look to see how far away she is from me. I catch the sun beaming off her blond hair as she runs down the path holding up her long red plaid night-dress so it won’t get wet in the dew. I have a flash back of me as a young girl running to get clothes off the clothes-line in the back yard on an early summers morning and loving the feeling of the cool wet grass under my feet. This moment is perfect. Who cares about what I am not getting done. I am right here, where I need to be, right now.
Where do I even begin. It is so hard to return to writing after I have been pulled away for a few days. Or have I been pulled away? Maybe I just let myself go because it can be hard some days to sit down and have nothing come out of my pen. I must persevere. I need a routine.
I have been thinking about blogging and one of its purposes for me in my writing life. I think it is to hold me accountable. When I am gone away for a spell from my blog its floating existance in space is a reminder that I have something important I need to do – write.
Not writing has made me sick in the past. Which is where Sunlight came from I guess. Now, I think something else is going on with my health as I try to balance home life and a writing life. I am getting a lot of abdominal cramping. I do fear it is stress related as I think about writing all day. It is the first thought on my mind as I shift from my sleeping state to this world. I go for an ultrasound on Monday. See what they say. I have a feeling they are going to find absolutely nothing.
I think about asking my family to take over some things at home so I can write. Yet, I find it hard to ask for help. The whole concept of assistance is my nemesis. More times than I can count I think trying to write while I have kids at home is setting myself up for failure. I wonder if I should wait until I do not have family under foot. Yet, do I want my life to start when they are all gone?! No.
Establishing a routine as a writer/researcher, stay at home mother plus, I suppose, a homeschooling mom, does not seem to be an easy challenge for me. Yet I know mom’s who do it. It can be done. I really need to find that more determined voice inside of me. Once, maybe 15 years ago, I took a kick boxing class. The instructor kept saying to me that I needed to find my power. He knew I had a stronger kick in me and for me to bring it out. Every class he said that to me, “Find your strength.” It still haunts me. Damn. When am I going to learn this lesson. I feel my writing life is in competition with my parenting expectations. This should not be the case. They can live harmoniously together. I know they can. Somehow. Balancing work and family isn’t impossible is it?
Photos curtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
I feel as though my ambition to write has lost me. It is 5:30 in the morning. I am finally able to take some time for my craft and I have nothing to say. I am blank. Like too many marbles stuffed in a bag, now I have to wiggle to get even one out.
Maybe I am putting too much pressure on myself. I wake myself up several times in the night hoping that it will be 5:30, my wake up time. Only it isn’t. It is earlier. I don’t want to be exhausted so I fall back asleep. I wake up so many times that by the time my meditation bowl chime goes off at 5:30 I sleep right through it. I am so desperate for some time to write that I am defeating myself in the process.
Now I sit here with plenty of time after a week or more of struggling to find it and I have nothing to say. I wonder how bloggers find time to blog on a regular basis? A commitment to a schedule I presume. A commitment they don’t let even their family intrude on. My issue is to say “No.” It is such a small word yet the energy it takes to say it seems to be surmountable. I am sucked into my family’s expectations or are they my expectations?
Now that I have written about not being able to write I feel as though I may have wiggled one marble out of the bag. Perhaps other ideas will come easier now. One marble at a time and then the ideas will flow easily. They will pour out freely and uninhibited.
Yesterday’s blog, The Golden Age, was a challenge for me. I had so much I wanted to say and I was struggling to make it all make sense and not be five pages long. It was sounding so confusing. I tried to pull sentences out of the post but then it seemed without substance. This difficulty caused me to start saying things like I suck at blogging. I hate blogging. I just can’t write. I can never get my thoughts straight. None of which is true.
When I start to put myself into a temper tantrum I know it is time to walk away and distract myself. The best is to get outside and watch my border collie, Chances, chase birds. It is such a treat to see him so excited that I completely forget about everything else. If him chacing birds doesn’t work him chasing farm equipment does. Then, just when my mind goes blank a picture comes to mind. The creative space was so full of nonsense it needed to wait until there was room to give me more information. Much like the cartoon Pinky Dinky Doo when she has her big idea.
I realized I was trying to touch on so many topics and subcategories and I really needed to choose one and run with it. This is harder than it sounds. It took me 2 more hours, total of 5, to get The Golden Age the way I felt satisfied enough to publish it although I was not in love with it.
I head to bed that night with the post still on my mind. Then a few positive things came to mind. They seem so obvious in hindsight. I realized that I had a lot to say and that is a good thing. That means I am passionate about the issue and I can use what I cut out for other blog posts, other stories to tell. I found one of my writing niches. Being overwhelmed with a post only means that I need to pursue it further.