#MicroblogMondays: Making Time Is Hard. Especially When It’s Hard.

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(Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.)

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I’ve been really struggling with creating the habit of writing. I do actually spend 20 minutes to a half hour every morning – first thing! – doing my morning pages, so it’s not that. It’s the practice of sitting down at my computer and actually writing that I’m having trouble with.

What happens is that I have a great idea, usually when I’m in the car. When I get to work, I’ll maybe take some notes and promise myself that I will absolutely sit down and spend some more time with it later. Sometimes later never comes, because it’s busy with training and work and then parenting and soccer practice and then meetings and oh wait, I forgot that there’s some important task to finish or I need to see my friends and aw crap, I forgot to get some ingredient at the grocery store so I have to go now. On those days, I tell myself, okay, I’ll write tomorrow. And I console myself with the fact that it’s the first week or so of school, it’s busy, I’ll get back to it once things settle down.

But then, when I have actually managed to carve out some time here and there to write, where I sit down at my computer with the best of intentions that I’m going to set my timer and just write – about anything, Karen! Anne Lamott says so! – I end up staring at a blank post or word document, then clicking onto another web browser and going onto Facebook. Or checking my email. Or checking my phone to see if a friend has messaged me. Or calling my sister. Or finding some obscure psychology article to read.

Until all the time I had planned fades away, and it’s business as usual; dinner, shower, bedtime, my own bedtime, spending time with my husband, etc etc etc etc.

This is a a problem.

It’s a problem because I actually need to spend time writing more, not less.  I need to get all the gunked up crap from years of not writing out of me, and the only way to do it is to write a lot more than I do now. It’s so hard, though. I’m simultaneously trying to be okay with writing crap, partly because I know perfectionism if my enemy right now.

But also? Finding the words to get to the heart of a story is really fucking hard.

And I think that’s why I keep getting distracted and finding other things to do instead of sitting and focusing on writing. It’s why, before I actually began this post, I started to write myself a grocery list for tomorrow. It’s why, in the MIDDLE of writing this post, I started copying down a quote of Anne Lamott’s which I want to tape to my wall.

Writing when it’s hard is part of the process. It’s hard though.

Especially when it’s hard.

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5 Responses to #MicroblogMondays: Making Time Is Hard. Especially When It’s Hard.

  1. Modern Gypsy says:

    One tip I can share – if it’s hard to find the words to get to the heart of the story, just freewrite it. Look over it again, and the words will start to come. That helps me quite a bit. My first drafts generally look like crap, but if I let that paralyze me, the words will just stop. And we know that’s no good either! All the best with your writing!

  2. KatherineA says:

    I used to joke that instead of “every journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step”, in writing it was more like “every paper begins with checking my email 100 times”. I too struggle with the perfectionism issue – I think somewhere deep down, I expect my first drafts to flow out profound, beautiful, and in need of only the most minor revision (I don’t think, for the record, most writers’ first drafts generally look like that, but it doesn’t seem to matter). You are absolutely right, it is hard. No advice as I find myself in a similar boat, but good luck with finding your rhythm!

  3. Delenn says:

    It’s amazing the things I think about writing when it is totally inconvenient. When I have no access or ability to get it out. And then I find the time…and…Nada. 🙂

  4. Risa says:

    Are we twins? Because 1) I could have written this same post and 2) This has been on my mind today actually. I know many writers struggle with this, but I always think it’s just me. I checked out morning pages and that’s actually really cool. I may have to try that.

  5. Mel says:

    This is the perfect metaphor: “I need to get all the gunked up crap from years of not writing out of me.” That is exactly it. You have to blow it out so you can breathe again.

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