- The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov
In the midst of this life I am living, with a baby still at the age where she is intent on bashing in her head or choking on something in addition to refusing to nap, a partner who works far away and for long hours, a garden that needs tending, kittens to keep out of trouble and a household to keep running, I am committing to write. And so I have begun the process of finding room.
It is not unlike the process of moving a rather large piece of furniture into an already full house. Will it fit here, in this room? What if I move that, turn this sideways, stack these up there? What if I give away the ratty old chair and move the lamp like this? What can I let go of to make room for this?
I have talked to other writers who are mamas about how they make room for their work. Some have given up television (did that years ago, no space there). Some step back from housework, simplify the cooking or commit to eating take out just a bit more often. Some hire help in the form of babysitting or housecleaning or shopping delivery. Some lean more heavily on their partners, take a half day during the weekend, or one night a week. Some trade time with other moms. Most sleep less whether that means staying up very late or getting up very early. All of them say there is never enough and they are always tired.
Mostly it is about utter focus and dedication. And lists. Always know what you can do in the amount of time you have to do it, and know what needs to be done at any given time. In five minutes I can answer 2 or 3 emails, follow up on a couple of open queries, jot down a list of ideas in my notebook. In 15 I can outline an essay and in 30 I can write a thousand words. They will be written badly, but in another 30 I can edit and revise them. I always have a notebook with me and my brain is always working in the background.
This is a whole new way of looking at creativity than I had in my old life. I had no idea what a luxury time was and I cringe at how much of it I wasted on doing nothing in all of my child-free years. I have no time now for wrestling with my muse. She needs to shut up and sit down because I have only 1 hour and 5 things to accomplish. No time for worrying if my work is good enough. It is done, therefore it is good enough.
The new furniture isn't in quite the right place yet - I'm still stubbing my toes when I walk by in the dark - but it is in the door and it is here to stay.