A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire...
I didn’t write for ten years. I had many excuses on what prevented me: work, partner, friends, travel, bills, work, taxes, happy hour, pilates, laundry, work.
I remember writing a story in third grade. To my disbelief, it won the classroom contest. That jubilation encouraged me to enter, and win, several future contests in and out of the classroom. I honored reading and writing so much I chose journalism as my college major. But despite having the writer’s bug in my bones, I couldn’t bring myself to scribble more than a paragraph or two. I got distracted incredibly easily and any momentum thereafter would falter. Another year went by without any words typed or written, and the cycle simply rinsed and repeated itself, season after season.
What has changed since then? I became a mother four years ago. Parenthood was powerful as it forced me to look beyond the superficial – which celebrity wore the prettiest dress during the Oscars – and appreciate the mundane – how many hours can I sit in this nursing chair without moving a muscle so as not to wake the baby, this dreamlike baby that I nourished and grew for nine months?
In the first year of my daughter’s life, I wrote a creative nonfiction piece on the difficult delivery I had bringing her into this world. I thought surely it would get selected for the anthology. It did not.
Another couple years passed and I wrote a piece for what I called low-hanging fruit, “simple” six-word-stories for an online publication. They decided to pass.
On the heels of that submission, I applied for a “simple” part-time job at a local children’s magazine. The job entailed writing a short article once every two weeks. I contemplated this would be completely doable as I was going through another round of infertility treatment and needed something light, not too heavy. They passed on me, too.
Why do I write now, after all these years? Disappointment actually, with a sprinkling of hope to propel me forward. I long for the jubilating feeling from third grade again. My old bones know there’s something inching to get out, a story to be shared. But, I am much more realistic in my approach now. I fully acknowledge that I need to do the act of writing, not just think about doing it. The art – and success – of this craft comes easily to some, but not for most.
How do I write now? I write after my preschooler is down for the night. I have pledged to myself that I will write one piece, once a week; a realistic goal for me. I also joined a community of like-minded people, a tribe of mothers who write. We meet online, and they not only hold me accountable, but help me hone my authentic voice.
It takes great effort, but everything worthwhile is worth the work. It’s good to be back.