To be absolutely clear: I need to write like I need to breathe. Inhale and exhale the words onto the page, a release of expression, aaah so freeing. I say anything I want. As I am still navigating my way through this new life, I take pride in the evolution of the process. But seriously, how do I ever find any time to write? I actually get this question quite often. I have four kids and as many jobs, and routine dedication to writing is an ongoing attempt to manage my sanity, to compress my anxiety and filter out the toxic thoughts. I fear the person I will become if I don’t write. (The person I was). Write in the morning. I tell myself. Write at night. Write while the kids are eating lunch, write while they are playing outside. In reality, I scamper through my house with my notebook tucked under my arm, trying to jot a few things down, hopeful for a prompt for later or a feeling that just needed to come out.
I make writing a priority in my life, or I will never make it to the next step. Even if I am not quite sure what the next step is, I know I need to get there. That is how I operate, practice and faith. So maybe you are like me. The urge to spatter words on a page is overwhelming but often comes at the most in opportune of times. Then you finally sit down, pen in hand, and ready to pour a cup of thoughts onto a blank piece of paper. It stares at you. Still blank. The pen taps the paper, trying to write but now the brain is empty. Damn mental libido; can’t be aroused.
Ten minutes. I repeat. Ten minutes. I set my timer. And go. It started with my timer and forcing myself to write for ten tiny little minutes a few times a week, and it is now an hour. The timer sets off my competitive Scorpio edge. Must keep writing; even if I have nothing to say. I write the truth. I have nothing to say. My pen keeps writing this phrase over, and over and over again. I have nothing to say. I look at my feet, dangling on the footrest of the recliner. I still have my shoes on. That is odd, I never wear shoes in the house. These ones are lace-up; I am still getting around to that. They are Layla’s shoes, evident by the teenager pen markings all around. There are flower leaves, multi color stars, and song lyrics. They actually came from the neighbor so there are two layers of teenage girl graffiti to admire. I suddenly feel youthful and free, the reason I am drawn to these lace up converse high tops. I sigh, suddenly aware that I am struggling to come up with more words. I just spent five minutes writing about my fucking shoes. I laugh; it is one of those nights. I go back to my mantra – I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I will keep writing. It is oddly quiet in my house, and in my brain. Some days, there are just blank pages and others I fill half the journal with my moving pen long after the timer has gone off.
My other method of writing is to “wake and write”. On this particular morning, I get up early to focus on my writing only to be joined by both toddlers. “Wake and write” usually works best alone, but that is a rarity for me. I get up and grab my journal. Before anything else, just write. For me that means brew coffee and write while drinking coffee. If not, it would just be page after page of “must drink coffee”.
J: Did you draw those letters, Mommy? Looks like you make eleven letters.
Me (trying to lasso a thought back to the page before it gets away): Yes, I made these
J: Is Mommy awake?
J: Is Cece awake?
J: Is Daddy awake?
J: you tired, Mommy?
J: Daddy tired?
J: Why Mommy and Daddy tired?
Me: because you came into our life, um I mean bed, last night. Why didn’t you stay in your bed?
J: Mommy so silly
I shut my journal; morning session now over.
To answer the question of when I actually have time to write, I can easily say never., or always. I am always writing. I jot notes down constantly and I make dates with myself to make sure I fill my pages. I make a theme for each week and try to keep consistent thoughts on that theme. That is how I come up with each weekly essay posted on my blog. I don’t have any magic answer except to keep writing. It may be silly and nothing and a pointless description about the shoes you are wearing, but it is something. It is exercise and eventually there will be that productive hour, four times a week, dedicated strictly to writing, to getting through the depressing dark days or the extra loud anxiety days.
I used to provide weekly writing prompts on my blog. In that spirit, I ask this question. Have you taken a leap of faith into something? Set the timer for ten minutes and describe that feeling, the detail of the leap and what you landed on.
Want more writing prompts? Let me know on my social media outlets if you enjoy this and I will make sure to keep adding them to my essays.