When Life Comes Before Writing

I think the lack of blogging on my part is proof enough that I am in a funk. That and the fact that I have indeed scrubbed my floors with a toothbrush INSTEAD of writing on more than one occasion recently.

I wish this was the only evidence, but it’s not. I haven’t written on my novel in a while. The last time I wrote, I’d type a paragraph or two…hate it…delete it…and start over. That process occurred for about three days. Then, I just stopped.

In my defense, life has been whipping me on what feels like a daily basis lately. I had bronchitis for three weeks, my youngest child just went through the whole braces thing (our third in braces = $$$$$), one of my daughters is turning sixteen (and had to have a root canal last week), and another is graduating high school in nine days and preparing for college. Also..My Yukon (our family bus) had to be worked on TWICE in the last two weeks…once after leaving my daughter and I stranded in the endodontist’s parking lot. And did I mention that my poor husband is working away from home right now? Yeah..I get to see him on Wednesday nights and weekends. On top of all that, I’ve had a hard time coping with my mother’s Alzheimers as it has recently progressed. My parents live an hour and a half away and I worry about them every day.

So…Life has absolutely sucked all creativity out of me.

Writing takes deep focus for me, and I have had zilcho focus in the last few weeks. There is simply too much other stuff occupying my life right now.

But…the good news is that I went to the bookstore and did a little first page reading of a few dozen books and slowly but surely I felt the literary juices begin to flow. I’m telling you… it’s Book Osmosis, people.

I also came across an article on Rock Your Writing that motivated me to keep moving forward. When the author of this article stated that there was a time when she would clean her kitchen floor with a toothbrush before dragging herself to the desktop, I knew I was A) not alone B) definitely in a funk and C) not the only person out there who cleans their floor with a toothbrush.

Everyone has their own difficulties in life to trudge through. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to carry a thousand pound weight through quicksand, and when things are that hard, it feels impossible to let yourself forget your worries and to-do lists that repeat through your head a thousand times a day so that you can sit down and get lost in writing.

Guilt, fear, worry, and stress are just some of the things that hop on your back and make you feel like you can’t move on.

Guilt is my #1 pressure and always has been. I tend to think of all the things I should be doing other than writing because writing is a passion for me…it’s a dream of mine to hold a book in my hands that I wrote. It is something I want…and I’ve trained myself to not want very much because I have children to give to. It is an internal battle I face every time I sit down to write.

Fortunately, I have a supportive husband who tells me to keep trying and to never give up and children who think it’s cool that I write.

I’m hoping things will calm a bit over the next few weeks, at least enough to allow me to get back in the groove.  As of now, I’m forcing myself to write something on my novel every day…whether it be a page, paragraph or sentence and whether I love it or hate it.

I can’t move at full speed yet, but at least I’m moving.


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  1. Sounds like you have a load on your plate! I love to do the same – sample a few first pages of new novels at the bookstore to see what's getting published. Sometimes it makes me feel really good about my own writing – sometimes it makes me want to put my 113 pages of this first novel I've got underway under a train and watch it blow away in thousands of tiny pieces. 🙂

    I also need tremendous amounts of focus, uninterrupted. And, I can never write well unless the house is clean. Weird?

  2. Oh Charissa! I so know what you are going through! I have been posting a little about this as well. Maybe it is the month of May. End of school, everything being crammed in before summer, sports, sports, and more sports. All of this means less time for us. I just today went to the library to spend time writing. I needed a new writing environment, something different. I think being at home is a constant distraction. There are a thousand things for me to be doing instead of writing when I am there.

    I am so sorry to hear about your mom. My grandmother on my mom's side had Alzheimer's and it so tough to see your loved ones go through that. I am thinking of you and know that you are not alone.

    You will get through it because you are strong. And don't worry, that mountain isn't going anywhere. XO