A guest post to motivate, encourage and inspire...
Finding My Way Back
I always thought that if I hadn’t made it as a writer by the time I became a mother I’d probably have to give up. Like my time would somehow expire.
By the time our son arrived, I hadn’t worked on personal writing projects in two years. My full-time communications job demanded my good brain power and I had convinced myself that I wasn’t good or disciplined enough to be a writer anyway.
In 2014, I read Elle Luna’s essay The Crossroads of Should and Must. “Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self,” she wrote. My heart soared and sank. Must was not my communications job. I printed out the essay and put it in a drawer.
The essay also led me to the 100 Day Project (one creative action every day for 100 days). I had missed the boat. Next year, I thought, I’ll write for 100 days.
But April 2015 arrived and I had a weeks old baby on my hands. Seeing as I couldn’t even brush my teeth daily, writing for 100 days was as likely as climbing Everest with the baby on my back.
My precious boy cried all the time. I held onto Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions like a life raft: “He falls asleep and I feel I could die of love….only twenty minutes later he wakes up…I…think…Oh, God, he’s raising his loathsome reptilian head.” I howled—with laughter, with tears, with all my crazed mixed-up emotions. Her words kept me afloat in lonely, desperate waters. She also made me want to write.
100 Thoughts and Memories of a First-Time Mom: I couldn’t get the title out of my head.
I thought about my languishing blog; a familiar devil appeared on my shoulder: I’m probably only a mediocre writer. Does the Internet need another voice? Also: Am I going to be one of those moms who only talks/writes about her kid? Ugh.
It was high time to dismember that devil.
Forget an audience, I told myself. If no one cared about the writing but my husband and, someday, my son, fine. If one mom out there related, bonus. Forget about being published, being good—about anything but being myself and showing up.
At 30 posts in, I have a long way to go. But I have a chronicle of this wild, blurry, exhausting, wonderful year. I have re-discovered what I love about writing and finally learned what so many writers have said: You don’t have publish any number of times to be a writer. You just have to write.
And I’m ready to get back in the trenches and stretch for bigger things.
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