A long time between lines

After all this time, I should know that when I give advice to a client (or anyone) it’s likely to come back and bite me in my own life. The advice that’s been haunting me? “Don’t have a blog on your website unless you know you can keep it up.” Sigh. (I even put the date in the header of that last post. Deeper sigh.) So, why the break? There are reasons. There are always reasons we don’t write.

My dog/baby ate my homework

Right after I wrote a post about being sick of everything, I started to get sick. Actually, it’s more accurate to say I got sick again. After long and careful recovery from a debilitating illness (part of the reason I closed the reading room), I was probably the healthiest I have been since childhood. I was back at work, I was active and creative, I felt totally alive. Then the old early warning symptoms of the illness returned. So, I gave my notice on all the jobs I had lined up or in process and handed them over to other editors, said my goodbyes to my private clients and hung up my tile. Or perhaps that should be took down my tile. I closed shop.

Not too long after that, I discovered I was pregnant and, not too long after that, I discovered it’s pretty impossible to write when you have a young baby. I know some people do it but I don’t have access to that stuff any longer. I’ve run out of the witch’s brew that let me, for so many years, “push through” at any cost. Or maybe I’m just better at seeing the cost. (Usually, uncomfortably, the cost seems to be evident in the faces of the people around me; my loved ones.) Even writing this short article, I have been interrupted by a waking toddler twice. (It could just as easily have been a dog: we got a puppy a year ago too.) But I have written it. In bits. I have stolen time. I’ll know tomorrow where I stole it from: it’ll be the moment I lose my [energy, patience, calm, enthusiasm, joy, laughter, creativity—pick one].

There’s only one reason we don’t write

So there are my reasons, some of them. My disclaimer might serve to put “on the page” a little of the missing “off-page” action of the last long while, so that continuity of some kind can be sustained. But really there’s only one reason we don’t write, however much we mean to, or think to, or yearn to, and that is: we don’t write. The only way to keep writing is to keep writing, in whatever bits of time you have each day. Ten minutes will do, I have found. It’s the only way to ensure you have written—have some writing: i.e. written evidence of having written. It works just as achievement does: little, or sometimes tiny, parts of achieving the bigger thing that get done each day and add up to the thing that, eventually, you and everyone else can point to and say, “Look what you’ve achieved!” Sometimes it’s health; sometimes it’s a whole human; sometimes these things take priority and we don’t end up putting in the daily work on writing, not even ten minutes. Sometimes that’s okay.