On Writing Time and Other Frustrations

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As I’ve worked for the last month or two on a fairly clearly defined “writing schedule,” I’m finding that getting time to write is difficult. I clearly understand why I had been making such slow progress on my previous project. In this day and age I think the myth of the “stay at home” mother who does nothing but sleep late and go on nature walks and make adorable craft projects with her perfectly behaved children, or whatever it is that we supposedly do all day, has been dispelled. In reality, it is hard work that consumes most of a mom’s time and energy with very little immediate reward or visible progress, other than children who are alive, fed, and somewhat for the most part groomed. It is more than a full time job, it’s a life’s work that for several years is pretty much the only life we have time for. Personal pursuits such as part-time careers, hobbies and interests, are always secondary. And by secondary I mean they fall somewhere in the approximately 5% of time left after chasing kids around and trying (often failing) to run a household, eating, and sleeping. For me, finding time to write has meant making sacrifices in one or more of those areas. And I’m not the kind of person who sacrifices easily, especially when the sacrifices I make also mean asking the most important people in my life to sacrifice time and convenience, too.

So far, even though I’m supposedly writing on a schedule, that hasn’t looked much like writing. There’s been a lot of trying to research and outline and failing either because schedules fall through, other important things come up, or I forget essential items like my brainstorming notebook. Which, incidentally, is why I’m sitting at Starbucks writing this blog post this evening instead of outlining my book. It’s been rather frustrating. I have made progress, although not nearly as much as I’d hoped to by this point. I’m looking at my anticipated first draft start date of June 1st and panicking a little. Sometimes a lot. From my conversations with other writers I know it’s fairly common to have a certain level of anxiety surrounding a project, particularly if there is a deadline involved. So the fact that I keep wondering if I can really write this book, if I can write it on time, if anyone will want to read it once it’s written, if I really have what it takes to be a writer or if I’m just a poser, is apparently not unusual. But it is moderately painful. Sometimes I’m just tired. Writing is work, and when you write from home you work when you can whether or not you feel like it, but the fact is that when I’m tired and distracted the plots and outlines and words don’t flow very well as when I’m at least moderately rested and focused and alert.

The good news is, I have time. I have a fairly generous deadline. I have plenty of time to not only write but also revise and polish up my manuscript before I turn it in. I have hope that it will get better soon, as I settle into this new routine and start the actual writing. But today I’m a little low on inspiration and energy and not quite loving this writing life.



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