Friday, May 8, 2015

I Haven't Been Writing

By Sarah Reichert

I haven’t been writing. 

There.  I said it. 

I thought I’d give it up for a little while, because, hey, life is busy right now and I have things that NEED to be done.

Writing is a luxury.  It feels selfish and languid to sit in front of my computer and write, especially with such little measurable profit for my effort.  It feels greedy.  I mean, how can writing be more important than getting through the never-ending pile of laundry or the constant but unnoticeable job of keeping the house from tanking into disarray? How can it possibly be as necessary as feeding the kids or taking the dogs to the vet?  The living things must take priority after all.

I haven’t been writing.  I’ve been cleaning out closets and cutting back the dead and brittle death of winter in my garden.  I’ve been carting the kids to school and extra-curricular activities and logging countless, mind-numbing miles in the process of training for a marathon (which, have I mentioned? I’m so over the joy of running). 
I’ve been planning and executing birthday parties (which I wish meant that I actually got to execute the idea of gift baggies filled with tiny, un-organizable stuff).  I’ve been replacing broken crowns and Craiglisting the contents of my crawlspace.  But I haven’t been writing.

The result: It’s been one of the most stressful, anxiety-ridden months of my life.  I can’t seem to catch up on anything, and when I do it falls back into needing done.  There’s no progress.  I’m as irritable and surly as a hamster stuck on a wheel, forever running but never getting anywhere.  I have no patience and no joy. In short I’ve become a jerk.

And I can’t help but wonder if the lack of doing something, just one thing, that I love is letting the dark and ugly side of me run rampant. 

Somewhere in the scramble to be an responsible adult I sacrificed the idea that my own joy was a worthwhile venture.

When did following our happiness become something selfish?

I’m putting “WRITE” on the top of my list today, and I’m not doing anything else until I’ve given time to my own happiness.  It will pay more than money.  It will pay in fulfillment and give meaning and beauty in a world of laundry piles and dentist appointments.

What brings you joy in life?  Have you invested in your joy today?


John Paul McKinney said...

And if you write the way you've written in the past, it will bring joy to other people as well.

RichardK said...

I'm on the bandwagon with you, Sarah. Family, other job, audio stuff, and the publishing company have pushed my writing to second on the list. I may have broken the drought, though. But people will have to wait until Monday to here about that.

Dean K Miller said...

I (and we) are either writing or we aren't writing. Simple as that. Some writers spend hours/day, others minutes-on-the-go.

But we are writers and we do write.

When and where is insignificant.

That we do is what matters.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Be kind to yourself and always keep that writing option open. You don't want your writerly self to dry up and blow away, do you?

Jenny said...

Hmmm...are you reading my mind, Sarah? I am also a surly hamster, for many of the same reasons. This time of year just gets nuts. Come to think of it, a hamster should like nuts, but it's not working for me.

Varina Suellen Plonski said...

Oh, YES! Yes, the "not doing what we love" is what is making you surly. I can not only relate, I can support that issue.
I have been unemployed for 5 years now. Living off, first, my retirement funds and then my deceased father's. Through that time I took 2 years off for continuing education in hopes of getting a job. But then I got to WRITE. Yes, I did job searches, fairly intensively. But I GOT TO WRITE. And I loved it! No stress, good focus.
But the money runs out, and now I am desperately searching for a job. 18-20 hours a day, every day, for the past 2 months. I do nothing else. (Okay, I play Mah-Jong on my phone in the bathroom.)
I don't write.
Because of the stress my doctor put me on Paxil. And I COULDN'T write. Couldn't string 2 sentences together to save my life. Couldn't remember words. After a month I told my doctor I was off it, I wasn't giving up something that was so fundamental for the sake of less fizzing in the car. New meds, renewed clarity of thinking. But--still no writing, because I. MUST. FIND. A. JOB.
It's killing me. I'm a junkie jonesing for a fix, itching under my skin and snarling at people. Yeah, that'll go well in a job interview, won't it?
So I have come to the conclusion that I MUST write, a little bit each day or go utterly starkers. 5-10 applications a day, and then write something. Sleep a couple hours. Feed the cats, walk & feed the dog. Pick up the roommate. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Write or die.

Abbie Taylor said...

It sounds like you have been writing, even if it's just a blog post. I hope you have a nice "me" day.

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