Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb Day 2 - Writing! How To Avoid it at All Costs!

December 2 - Writing.

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

(Author: Leo Babauta)

Well, damn if I don't ask myself that same question, framed differently, on a regular basis.

Why am I not writing?

The answer to my question is always easy.

 I'm exhausted. Cap'n Chaos kept me up all night with his incessant teething. I'm nine months pregnant. I've been busting my ass around here all day.

 I'm too busy. Grandma has a doctor's appointment then it's playgroup time then I have to make lunch then it's naptime then I have laundry and dishes and cleaning to do then it's time to wrassle with Chaos for a bit before I have to make supper then it's bathtime and bedime for the little guy then I have to talk to gramma about her meds and make a shopping list and then I have laundry and dishes and cleaning to do...

And so on and so forth.

The answer to Leo's question was harder for me to find. But only because it caught me off guard.

What do I do each day that doesn’t contribute to my writing — and can I eliminate it?

wtf? Really?

A quick look at Twitter this morning confirmed my suspicion that I wasn't the only one who had been caught off guard by the question - and probably more specifically, the way it was framed. A lot of people seemed put off by the question. A lot of people seemed defensive.

I was too, at first.

Everything I do each day contributes to my writing. I can't "eliminate" any of it. That's a stupid question.

I write about my life and the people in it. It's just that they keep me so busy I don't have time to write, really.


I love that my prompts come first thing in the morning, because I've actually carved out a tiny bit of space at the end of my day for myself. For writing, mostly. I have all day to think about these questions, and believe you me, I do. It's awesome. Anyway, as I was rushing around today making breakfast for three people and cleaning the kitchen so grandma wouldn't have to and comforting a tired, cranky Chaos who wanted my undivided attention, please, and starting lunch for five people, it hit me.


I do too much for everyone else and not enough for me. Too much is what doesn't contribute to my writing. Too much, also known as procrastination.

Fahhk. I knew it!

I've been a procrastinator ever since high school. It's always taken on different forms. Alcohol and drugs, mostly. But this one, this taking care of everyone within arm's reach, has always been there too. It's much easier to take care of everyone else than to take care of me. It's a great excuse to put off working toward my goals.

Procrastination is insidious. Just when you thought you booted it out one door, it sneaks in another, wearing a different guise. I started this blog as a form of motivation to write, as a space for myself, after Chaos was born. I did it because I knew that if  I didn't, I would spend all of my time and energy taking care of the people around me, and none of it taking care of me. And here I am, doing just that.

So, can I eliminate it?

I've committed myself to caring for my grandmother and my children. That is not negotiable.

What is negotiable, though, is how I go about it. I have a wonderful support group here in the form of family. I have aunts and uncles and parents who are willing to help shoulder the weight of this task. I may be a single parent, but I am definitely not alone.

So? How do I do it?

I recognize that writing is an integral part of my life and my well being. I make it as important to me as my family is. It is not simply recreation, it is not a waste of time. It is my goal in life to make a living and a difference with my words. There is nothing trivial about that.

When I need help being a good parent, I don't hesitate to ask. When I need support taking care of my grandmother, I get it right away. When I need a hand with my own goals? I will reach out.

From now on.

* PS  I am due to give birth any day now (hear that, little guy? Anytime) so I may be out of commission for a couple of days. I don't really consider it procrastination, though.

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