I’ve always had “other stuff” to do in addition to writing. Or, instead of writing. Isn’t that how it always happens? You do ok writing every day for a while and then … you get sick or you decide to look for a new job or the car breaks down or your relatives come to visit. When the crisis ends, you don’t always go right back to writing every day, even if you know you should. I used to run into this problem a lot. I would write regularly, and then the holidays would hit and I would decide to get serious about getting in shape. So, my writing went downhill while I went to the gym or spent time cooking new foods. Or I would hold onto a writing routine for a few months, just to have it fall apart when my stresses at work increased or when the weather was particularly nice.
Flash forward to life with kids. There is hardly time to eat, much less write anything worthwhile. There are four of us now, so the chances that someone is sick at any given time is like 80%, and for whatever reason, I am the only person who can fix it. I fix it by tending to the sick person all night, then crab together a nap here and there during the day while the TV blares and the chaos of all our stuff begins to fall in on us. Or maybe we are trucking along just fine, until someone learns how to crawl/walk/unlock the front door/undo his seatbelt/climb the furniture to find the ipad/use youtube. Many hours of rearranging life afterward and … hm, what was I doing? Trying to feed us all? Keeping clean clothes in the dresser? Oh, I was working on a novel? I had fifty thousand words that needed to be edited into a more solid structure? How was I going to do that?
My life has become a combination of to do lists and caffeine. If I don’t write down the things I need to do, I will never remember them and then I will waste precious time this afternoon when everyone is asleep, trying to remember … wasn’t there something nagging at me before? Was I going to fix the dishwasher or was I going to try out that Martha Stewart recipe for tub scrub since I thought I had all the ingredients. Today, at the top of my to do list (meaning, the item I have ignored until all the other chores around it have been accomplished) was yoga, hilariously enough. Oh, right, yoga. I used to do that during morning naps, but then I thought I should make writing a priority again. So now “write something” is on my to do list, where is it probably going to get ignored in favor of “childproof the linen closet door handle” and “sweep up dog food.”