Sunday, November 15, 2009

No More Grouchy Saturdays!

Lately, I have been very frustrated with my writing. Progress has been slow, and it has been difficult to find time to write, and I'm not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg.

When I first started writing, I had the luxury of a consistent schedule. Newly married and working part time, I wrote all summer and nearly every Friday morning.

After my daughter was born, it was tough to find the energy and motivation to write, and Friday mornings morphed from writing time to Mommy time. Eventually, thanks to a combination of nap time and Daddy time, I snuck in some writing time. When my daughter started going to gymnastics, I recaptured my scheduled time, a lovely, quiet chunk every Saturday morning.

And for a long time, that time stuck. But lately, gymnastics long abandoned, my daughter prefers to stay at home on Saturday mornings. Her weeks are busy, filled with middle school assignments, dance classes, music lessons and basketball practices, and Saturday morning is an island of respite after a long week of schedules and responsibility. And that's not unreasonable.

Unfortunately, it's also not conducive to my writing. Add the list of chores running through the back of my mind (and well-illustrated throughout my house) and it's hardly a recipe for concentration and creativity.

Still, I keep trying to cling to that Saturday morning schedule, and I am embarrassed to admit that I have only recently come to realize how futile that is. Saturday morning writing sessions no longer fit our family schedule, and by trying to power through and cram them in, I am only making myself and everyone around me grouchy and uncomfortable.

So, why am I hanging on to Saturdays? Until now, it was because I was afraid to let go. If I stopped writing on Saturdays, I might stop writing altogether. I might not finish my novel, or my non-fiction book. I might end my writing career prematurely. I might fail.

Slowly, I've come to realize that sticking with an antiquated plan is no more useful than hanging on to a secondary character who makes the reader want to put the book down. And, when I step back and look at the big picture, I realize that I am writing. I write while Leah is at dance class, at basketball practice, at flute lessons. I write over lunch when I am flying solo. I am still writing.

So maybe, just maybe, the muse comes out at other times besides Saturday mornings. And maybe, just maybe, if I stop forcing the issue, Saturday morning writing time will materialize.

Or not. But at least I'll stop making everyone - myself included - grouchy on Saturdays.

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