After Page One: Finding Time
A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire…
For a decade, writing was the center of my life. Each morning, I’d write in my little room with the red curtains, my cup of chamomile tea warming my lap. In the evenings I taught writing to undergraduates. I published my writing widely in literary journals, and eventually, my first book of poems was published.
Then I had a child.
When my son was born, I couldn’t figure out how to fit in a shower, let alone write. My love for my son was so overwhelming, I could barely breathe. But it was that love—that breathless intensity—that drew me to the page nonetheless. There were no more “writing mornings” now. I wrote when I could. Sometimes months would pass. I wrote in quick, passionate spurts.
Eight years went by like this. The writing happened—I even published another book of poems—but I wrote along the edges of my life.
I had few regrets about my post-children writing life, but a few months ago, I began to feel pulled in another direction. I was washing dishes, looking out the window as the first snow of the season began to fall, and I thought “I wish I had more time to record.”
By some miracle, that wish came true. Is it because my children are a little older, and life has become more predictable? Is now the right season of my life? Was it simply the asking, the intention?
I’m not sure what it is, but I have been writing almost every day. I have been finding time, making time—using naptime and bedtime for writing rather than housework, phone calls, or even my beloved yoga.
It is not without stress and sacrifice.
Before, my mind was filled with shopping lists, doctor’s appointments, naptime schedules. Now, I rearrange paragraphs in my head while my son and I play trucks. I jump up from a board game to jot down an idea in my notebook.
I’m not very good at multi-tasking. Sometimes I go to sleep at night, my mind still spinning and streaming with thoughts.
I’m also not proud of how much time I spend on my phone—writing, or connecting with other writers. It’s much easier to use than a pad and paper, and it fits in my pocket, or my free hand. It’s an easy way for me to slip in writing during long days with my kids.
But even though I try to keep phone use to a minimum, I know I use it more than I should. My toddler has come up to me more than once, saying, “Mommy, put down your phone.” Or “Mommy, I just want to talk to you.”
I don’t want to be the kind of mother who ignores her children to pursue her passion. But I also don’t want to be the kind of mother who puts aside her passion for her children.
Reclaiming myself as a writer is like reuniting with a lost lover. I know this initial spark of passion will die down. The day will come when I arrive at a blank page and have nothing to fill it with. And I also know that I will learn to balance motherhood and writing—there will be a way for me to give them both my full attention.
But for now, I am diving right in, head first. I don’t know where it will take me, or how long it will last, but it’s here. I’m trying not to question it. I’m grateful. And it feels so damn good.
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4 replies on “After Page One: Finding Time”
Wendy, so much here feels pulled from my brain. I wrote before kids, perhaps not as consistently, but after the birth of my daughter I fell into a black hole of sorts and my writing life all but disappeared. In that, I felt like I had disappeared. I began again, in earnest, when my second child turned into a toddler and I try to maintain my momentum since that also maintains my sanity and fulfillment, beyond the ways mothering most certainly does.
Keep going, whenever you can, in fits and spurts, and soon the days will stretch longer with more time.
THis is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I have an 8 and 9 year old and have just started writing- a weekly newspaper column. It amazing how I AM able to find the time, and it feels very very worthy to me. A good use of time. I love your writing style!
And you definitely motivated, encouraged and inspired :)
I guess first of all I’d have to determine whether I could call what I used to do writing. A sea of words and phrases appeared on paper in the form of poetry, that once swam in my head. Some good some excellent and some confusing. Time has murdered that luxury I once had. Thanks for the memory.