Its been hard to keep this space alive recently. I have ideas tumbling over each other to be written, but somehow, something always gets in the way.
The computer battery runs out.
The fuse in the plug which connects the computer to the solar power is broken, and keeps breaking every time I replace it.
A child I thought would be at Kindergarten is ill and my writing time disappears.
It is late at night and although everyone is finally asleep, I am so exhausted with the day, I have no energy to write.
I wake early to write before everyone else is up and, suddenly everyone else is up!
I could write in the toilet….but there’s always someone who needs to go…..
There is no separate space in our house where I can write. Our bedroom is even in the sitting room!
There is too much else to do.
And so on.
I could go on.
But it’s fast turning into a boring list of complaints and that doesn’t achieve anything.
It is intensely frustrating. Sometimes I feel like giving up on the whole thing. Maybe my life style…heating huge vats of water over the fire every time I do laundry or want a bath, living in one space with kids and a partner, just isn’t compatable with writing. You see it’s not just the blog..it’s the articles all lining up in draft, its the half written books languishing in notebooks around my bed.
I love writing.
It’s one of the most satisfying things I can do.
But it always comes last.
The bottom of the pile.
I always feel guilty when I ask for some child care so that I can write. Like its an indulgence, something that’s worthless, to be apologised for, quickly squeezed into guilty time at the end of the day, or round making a gourmet lunch.
I always put my partner’s work first. I put my children’s needs first.
No wonder I’m not getting round to it.
It’s time to make some decisions.
We’ve just come back from a festival and two days before we went, I devoted one entire day to washing. No kidding. The kids were at school, it was my writing morning, and I was lighting fires outside, heating vats of water, scrubbing, rinsing, dodging rain, bringing laundry in and out from the washing line, lighting another fire inside so I could actually dry the damn laundry….a whole day.
Is this how I want to spend my time?
Well, actually yes and no,
When my kids are at home, and I have a small laundry load, I like to light the fire with them and sit around it scrubbing, chatting, getting them to help fold and mangle the clothes. That feels good and empowering that we can do it ourselves.
But hours and hours devoted to a task which is eroding time when I can write? No!
Time struggling in the rain lighting a fire to heat water because if I light it inside we’ll all melt? No!
When I lived in a yurt for six months with four children and Leo still in (washable) nappies I came to a sudden realisation about the lack of women poets, artists, writers in history. I was finding it hard to find time to send a text message. And it wasn’t just time…it was almost impossible to sit down at the end of a day hauling water, firewood, outside baths, cooking on camp stoves, keeping rats at bay and the school run…..and compose articles and short stories calmly by candle light.
So do I have to choose between a low impact lifestyle and writing? Well, driving to a friends house to write isn’t exactly doing my carbon emissions any good is it?
Maybe I’m using it as an excuse to not write and avoid the fear of rejection. Possible. If I can justify my time by producing swathes of clean, hand-laundered clothes and lovingly prepared food and neatly chopped firewood then I don’t need to write. I can let myself off the hook.
BUT I DO WANT TO WRITE.
So I need to start taking it seriously and find a balance.
- Do some hand laundry, IF I WANT TO, and explore options for setting up a shared washing machine nearby. Ask for help. Visit the laundrette.
- Don’t feel the need to fill in spare time by making endless healthy snacks, raw sweeties, dips and breads for the family.
- Get the solar system functioning, so I have enough power to do internet stuff for more than half an hour!
- Get myself some indoor writing space that I don’t have to drive to, and that isn’t our kitchen/sitting room/bedroom. It could be a hand built cob house with stained glass windows, it could just be a little caravan.
- be firm about getting some time and space to write…and when I get the time…just write.
Sounds easy eh?
Sharing all this makes it far more likely I’ll get on with it….I do love writing in this space and I don’t want to give it up. I do want to publish books..and I just need to get on with it. (more about this another time)
I think we can achieve pretty much anything if we really want to, and decide that we can. The practical obstacles, although they often seem insurmountable, are often the easier ones to overcome.
What are the obstacles in your lives lovely people?
How do you overcome them?