"Stephenie Meyer was a stay-at-home mother to three boys, and she wrote TWILIGHT in three months. Nobody even knew she was doing it."
My husband didn't immediately turn from the television to address my remark, but when he did, the expression in his green eyes was cautious and a tiny bit resigned. We've had this conversation before. It never goes well. Why do I always bring it up again?
It's not about Stephenie Meyer, JK Rowling or any otherbody writer who has manged to type out enough consecutive, related words to tell a story. It's not about the fact that they did it while their lives were full of other commitments. This conversation is about the fact that I. Can. Not.
My husband is the kind of person who never walks away from an unfinished job. I know this about him, and if he's in the middle of something I know he needs to give it most of his attention until it is done. Behind this man is a list of fixed things and stuff taken care of that boggles my mind. I respect him, and all the people in the world that are like him. I want him to tell me that I can do that too. I can be like that.
Except if I could - if I was - I would have finished this effing novel by now.
The conversation lead into deeper and deeper emotional waters that churned with my frustration and feelings of failure. I wanted him to reach in and pull me out, tell me what a capable and effective person I am.
But my husband - he tells me the truth. Always. And what he said sounded something like: if I want to write a book - and he does not doubt that I CAN - I will have to crack down and Actually Do It. I might even have to stop wasting time on the internet reading blogs and such.
Damn that man. He really makes me mad sometimes. Clearly he just does not understand. (S)
But he also said a few other True Things. He said that I need to remember that I am a mother - and that I have always wanted to be a mother, and the children come first with me. Since I am away from them at work full time, I spend my home-time doing crafts with them, reading to them, baking with them, and screaming my fool head off at them. I take care of people. That is who I am, and it is good.
I like that. That makes me feel better, but still, I walk around with this thing I could not accomplish. Other writer friends - the ones on the internet, of course! - have told me and told me that I need to get myself a system that works. If I'm serious about writing professionally then I need to BE professional about it. Eventually they got bored of telling me this and wandered away. I don't blame them, actually. I have been moaning about this and beating myself up about this for years and It. Stops. Now.
I am a mother first, and that is just who I am. I am a business owner, and I have to be that too. I am proud of who I am wearing both of those hats. I am a wife too, and a very lucky one (as you can see.) I want to keep that in good working order. So all of these things are right with my world, and I think I forget to remember that.
I have made a decision: I am leaving the guilt behind.
I'm not letting myself completely off the hook, though. I can't face the prospect of leaving my writer-self on some deserted island. I will continue to write, and I will continue to ask more of myself, just without the anxiety that rides high in my chest when I don't get to the page. It's just too much drama, man. It's always there, in the back of my mind. And I am not a failure.
Let's face it: I am not finishing this novel this year. It's just not on. But I will build a better writing habit. I've decided that I will write something every day. No word minimums for now, just something - whether it's morning pages or a journal entry or a scene for the novel. I'm not giving up. I just want writing to be a joy and an outlet in my life, and eventually - some day - a success to add to these other important things I'm working so hard at.