I looked at my to-do list as I sat down in front of my computer this morning. I always write it in the evening as a way to ground me, to let me know what lies ahead for the next day.
The problem with doing this though, is that sometimes the shorthand I use at night is not the same shorthand I use during the day. I read through my list:
Manuscript – ngh
I knew I was making reference to the manuscript I’ve been challenged to finish by the end of the month, “ngh”? “ngh”? What was I trying to say?
And then with a sinking heart I realized that “ngh” was my code for:
“not gonna happen”
Last night as I made my list filled with plans to write articles and blog posts that were due (and go to the bank, and pick up vitamins), I also decided to give up the ghost on my book challenge.
It seemed like a doable challenge when Julie and I made the pact at that writer’s dinner a few weeks back. Finish what both of us had already started by the end of the month, it should be a breeze right? After all, both of us are writers.
But then life got in the way. Cars sprung oil leaks which reduced this family of 8 – 4 of which are working – to one car, requiring our best Excel spread sheet skills to organize. Driving people to where they needed to be became a full time job. Members of our flock got sick enough to land in the hospital for a few days. College kids (some for whom the worry never stops) needed to get ready to go back to college, and a little part time job taken to ensure gymnastic costs are covered each month ended up taking more time than expected as I put my feet sore from not having to stand for hours at a time e;evated on the couch pillows each time I’d come home.
Layer all of this on top of my regular writing (I was assigned 5 newspaper articles for August and am still waiting to hear about 3 ptiches), working on (paying) marketing jobs, and trying to keep up with my blogging and well, what you get is a big, fat, NGH.
I’m not necessarily complaining, it’s more that I’m facing the facts.
Not being able to write happens, but quite frankly it also stinks. I dream of being a full time writer, having an office set away from my family (tiny house anyone) where I can go to compose and not be interrupted with questions like “Where is the peanut butter?”, “Can I hang with my friend?”, and “Mom, I need two more packages of notebook dividers for school. Can we go to the store now?”
Look, I get it. You can’t be a writer until you are a writer (just like you can’t get published until you are published.) No one takes a “wanna-be” writer seriously enough to not interrupt them or to not expect them to run the house, because in the end, what’s more important, writing a story or getting food on the table?
So even though I did make incredible progress, went to the library to write more times than I thought I’d be able to, and have 78 good solid pages, I’m not where I should be and I’m not finished. It’s not gonna happen…
…by the end of this month.
But it will happen, maybe by the end of September, or even October. I’m not giving up, I’ll never give up. I know that my life circumstances are not going to change any time soon, my family is not going away (and neither do I want them to) and the responsibility of maintenance like feeding this crew rests squarely on my shoulders. It’s a package that I signed up for (although I’m not really sure I signed up for a dog that insists on barking enough to raise the household every morning at 5:30.) I’m here.
What I’m saying is that I’m not going to sit around and wait for the perfect circumstances so that I can write – if I did that I could be waiting for a very long time (try infinity.) Instead I’m going to continue to pinch off a few minutes here, steal an evening away there, and as long as I stick with it, *eventually* my book will get done.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com)
The life of a writer is to write, stumble, brush off the dirt from your bruises, and then continue writing.
Whether or not you succeed depends on whether or not you can get up and keep writing after each of the inevitable falls.