On (not) writing

I miss writing.

Last time I posted here, it was post celebrating the 35 posts I’d done over the course of something like seven or eight weeks. I had set a goal to write on the regular and I had achieved it. I’d hoped that this streak would kick start me sitting down and writing as regularly on a larger piece of fiction that I’ve had kicking the hard wires of my brain and the hardwires of my actual computer a little less.

It wasn’t to be so.

Part of me thought that with shifting my kids from homeschool to the virtual option offered by my district would open up daily writing sessions for me. This hasn’t materialized.

I haven’t given up hope that these dream writing sessions will happen, but I will admit that I skimmed over bits and pieces of the long essay “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf. In it, she argues that women need space and time to write. I’ve always cringed away from this sort of idea, so deeply, perhaps, engrained in my neural pathways the idea that only real work deserves time and money and only real work involves producing, not creating.

I remember I once heard a writer equate one book-length project to raising one child. This idea was then framed by the speaker with the further thought that each child is one less book and vice versa. I cringe away from this idea too: that I have to somehow choose one over the other. Children or creativity? You can’t have both. And, of course, it’s obvious which I would choose, which I have chosen.

What about all the books unwritten and the pieces of art unproduced? Or children not raised?

And, yet, here I am. From time to time I convince myself, very nearly, that the novel is percolating, as I bring the 3yo to the toilet or help the 8 year old through her math, or stir a pot of soup. And perhaps it is. I also know (from experience) that the real writing truly only happens when I’m sitting down and writing, undistracted. I know that it will never happen until, maybe, my children have grown up. My prefrontal cortex is so consumed by the basics of their health and safety, completely subsumed by it and unable to devote any energy to other higher level executive functioning.

Which, honestly, it pains me to even write about because, thinking about it in this way, the writing seems a selfish endeavor even though part of me knows that it’s also important for caregivers to feel fulfilled, to feel like we are contributing to something.

And I think that this is what I have been missing about writing — either here or in other more private places. Somehow organizing my thoughts into words, sentences, paragraphs on a screen would place them somewhere outside of pinging around inside my own head. And this, I suppose, is, in a way, what fulfillment means.

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