I write from an uncomfortable position cramped on the couch with a three-year-old tangled up beside me. I’m not sure where his limbs end and mine begin. My laptop balances precariously on my thigh and ankle as I struggle to type and keep the child from adding extra letters to my words. The author in my head is drowned out by the voices of Po and Tigress, and I look up. I stop writing and watch instead.
Around me, the toasty, basement den is a blur of motion. Balls are rolling. Boys are running, screaming, and ducking. Games are scattered. The television flickers. An occasional toy flies over my head. There’s laughter, demands, conversation, questions, and squeals. Most of the time, I’m right there in the middle of it. For now, I write.
I write to satisfy that part of me that wants to be me, or maybe that part of me that doesn’t want to be me. So much of my time is dedicated to my family. I choose to take care of my children, my husband, and my home. It’s a lot of work, and it’s not always pretty. There’s the screaming, the vomit, the cooking, the never-ending cleaning, the discipline, the teaching, the listening, the laundry, the playing, the inventing, the fixing, the chauffeuring, the trying-to-make-everything-fun, and a whole lot of other stuff. It’s exhausting, and I love it….most of the time. The other times? I write.
I write to be in control. In the real world, I have limited control. I can’t script the things my husband says to me, try as I might, and I can’t change the way my kids behave. When I write, distances become surmountable, circumstances change, and possibilities are endless. Click To Tweet It’s a special place, just for me, where requests for snacks, changes of clothes, laundry, dishes, dinner, and rides to soccer practice don’t have to be addressed. I can explore issues and relationships as deeply as I desire, evoking whatever emotions I feel like having that day.
I write throughout the day for the thirty-or-so minutes after my children have been fed until someone needs something or is hungry again. I tell myself it’s a lesson in time management, that learning to use these small snippets of writing time will sharpen my focus. There’s no time to waste getting into the mood to write. I can’t wait for inspiration to strike or writer’s block to lift. If there are going to be any words on the page at the end of the day, I have to jump in and start typing. Ignore the crippling fears about whether or not it’s any good. Hide the red pen so my internal editor can’t massacre my pages. Just write.
Gone is the peaceful vision of writing my best-selling novel from a quiet, corner desk while sipping a hot, caramel latte. There’s no window with a beautiful mountain view to catch my attention between chapters. I hope someday that will be my reality.
Why do you write?