Wednesday, October 26, 2011

on writing #1

I blog to write.

I love to write, I always have. For a number of years I lost touch with the astounding satisfaction it gives me but it was through this blog that I found my way back. And now it's kind of all I want to do.
And when I say all I want to do I'm being quite serious.

I have days when I wake at 4am and I wish, I long to be able to get out of bed, make tea and just write and write and write. I just know I'll produce great material in those moments. I can feel the flame, I can almost taste it, and to have to suppress the desire feels like a crime.
Like spending a sunny day indoors with the curtains drawn. Like eating 4 slices of toast just before Christmas dinner.

But I have to suppress it. I have to tell myself to go back to sleep because I know I need those last few hours before the girls wake up. They need me to get those few more hours sleep.
For if I succumbed to the muse and got up, even if I produced something of staggering genius in that time, the rest of our day would be foul, I know this. There would be tears and snapping and it would be all because I didn't enough sleep and that ... that also feels like a crime.

It's not fair on me to have to suppress this urge to write, it hurts me. But it's not fair on them to consciously jeopardise our day before its even started, that will hurt all of us.
I'm not really sure what the solution is.

The muse is not always that untimely, but the time just never seems to be right for her.
12 noon finds Stella asleep, me writing feverishly and then ack, 12.25 - school run!
3pm, I'm struck by inspiration, my fingertips start tingling, but there's just no way I can extricate myself from afternoon snack/play dough construction/planned trip to the park.
7.30pm, the girls are in bed, the muse hopefully pokes her head up, but I've a husband I've missed all day, my own dinner to savour with him in the quiet of the adult-only evening calm, bits and bobs to clear up and arrange for the morning and then maybe, just maybe, a couple of hours writing, when I'm tired and quite often at my least inspired.

It's not fair on me to have to suppress this urge to write, it physically hurts me. But I'm not really sure what the solution is.

But I may have found a place to look for it. In a stolen 15 minutes one afternoon recently I read this column from Literary Mama and have subsequently had enough light bulb moments to brighten up the gloom I'd started sinking into on this one.
Get this Molly, you're not the first 'literary mama' to feel like this. And duh, as with anything, there are books you can read, conversations you can have, resources you can use to help yourself find ways around your current dilemma.
By stepping back from the problem, viewing it from another angle, the way forward has become clearer.

Motherhood and writing, they're not so different really.

The kids, the muse, two equally willful and independent entities, neither very keen to be tamed, neither particularly concerned with making my life any easier.
Two currents running through my life which equally inspire me and throw me into despair, equally demanding and, when they work, ultimately rewarding.
Both forces which, realistically, require me to step up and lay the ground rules, be the parent, create the boundaries and live by them myself.

I have to ask myself why the muse chose to return now, in these arguably busiest years of my life. Where was she when I had spans of free time (or so it always seems when I remember the pre-baby years)?
Why wasn't I feverishly writing at 4am then?
Because I didn't have the inspiration I do now perhaps?
Could it be that these little creatures which seem to come between me and my writing now are the very reasons the urge to write is so strong within me?

I'm not done pondering this one, and I'm still not sure how to make more time to write. But write I must, it's becoming as essential as breathing, and I seem to be able to make time to do that everyday.


Gail said...

After reading this, I say you must have a book (probably more than one) inside you, just waiting to be nurtured and brought to life. Your post made me think of reading interviews with authors and how they say that not writing was never an option for them, it was something they absolutely had to do, as essential as breathing. Your post reminded me of this. fact. I say Go For It, an urge this strong must be satisifed, Good Luck!

Laoch of Chicago said...

"I have to ask myself why the muse chose to return now, in these arguably busiest years of my life."

My guess is that you have a lot to say that this moment.

Katherine J Barrett said...

Hi Molly,
Thanks so much for reading the article on Literary Mama -- and I'm SO pleased it was inspiring. Motherhood has definitely been a muse for me. I don't think I'd be writing now if I hadn't had kids. (And it does get easier as they get older!)