A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire
Writing for My Daughters
My children need me to write. It is imperative, for the well-being and security of my children, that I write.
This was my thought as I left the house and stalked down the street in tears, having uttered the words, “I don’t want this life.” Having left my children alone, left them behind.
Last week, I began the second leg of a four-month solo parenting stint. I’m between books, first novel completed and languishing in a weigh station on the path to publication, second novel embryonic, barely living, in my head and in my notebook. I’m waiting. Stalled. In limbo. For my partner to return, for my own life and writing and career to begin advancing with direction and momentum.
Mothering—especially full-time, solo mothering—is a handy excuse for the low-grade depression and inertia I’ve been in. For the new book that is not progressing, for my inability to haul myself from bed before dawn as I did through months of finishing the previous book, for the sense of purposelessness that drags me down some days amid the domestic minutiae and the unrelenting need-meeting.
It is so hard to begin a new novel. There’s so little to latch on to, to run with, to shove yourself off from. It’s so ethereal — look sideways at it, and poof, there’s nothing there at all.
The truth is I’m floundering between projects. I haven’t found my footing in the new one, and I haven’t made it a priority, consistently, to sit down at the page until I find it. The new book is uncomfortable and bewildering. My bed is soft and warm, and I am so tired.
I cried, “I don’t want this life.” And then I walked out of the house, away from the full kitchen sink and the toy-strewn floor and the “I’m hungry!” and the “She’s not being nice to me,” down the street in tears.
Four-year-old Aphra followed me, rubber-booted. “Should we go for a little walk together, Mommy?” So sweet and gentle, her hand pressing into mine.
And this is when I realized: it is imperative that I start writing again, in a focused, non-negotiable way. Not for the book itself, though it is for that. Not even for my own self-preservation, though it is for that. But today, it is primarily for my daughters, so they can have a mother who is fulfilled and happy, who is delighted to be with them because first she has been with her writing. Who does not say, in their presence, that the life she’s living with them is a life she doesn’t want.
I must make my way out of the weeds of the in-between, forward.
Today when I left the house, I first arranged a beloved babysitter. I walked out into the dawn to a café with my notebook, and I wrote.
Join our After Page One series. We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio so readers can learn more about you and your projects.