When Writing Is So, So Hard

When I was in graduate school for my MFA, we had to submit a certain number of stories at the beginning of each term. I always had the good intentions of starting early, working on several projects, and then carefully choosing the best ones.

I was always one story short.

No matter how early I started or what good ideas I had in the weeks before the deadline, I was always scrambling to get just one more story onto some paper. It happened so many times that now I feel like this is just my personality: I forget one ingredient to put into the pasta for dinner; I remember the snacks for our trip to the park, but not the extra diaper; I remember a lot of the overdue books when we go to the library, but not quite all.

In school, I would patch together something quick, something quirky. Maybe a novelty piece that didn’t deserve serious attention. Writing those pieces was often easy, probably because I had already decided I didn’t care what anyone else thought. I was just writing to fill the gap, just to get through one more term, and I swore every time that it would never happen again. And you know what? Those quick little essays were almost always the best received out of everything I submitted. I guess that might be another part of my personality — I overwork things, I try too hard, I should really stop caring.

These last few weeks have been very hard on my writing. I am not sure why, but I have a feeling some of it is due to my cat. I called the vet today and cancelled the appointment to put her to sleep. I have been in severe denial about it all week and this morning, I realized I just couldn’t say goodbye to her yet. I am not sure what it will look like when it is time for her to go, but I decided that I will reassess next month. More time to ignore the problem, I guess, but she doesn’t seem any more miserable than at any other point in her life.

It is also hot out, which is sapping my energy. And the baby keeps walking into corners and falling on top of stuff and getting hurt. And the older one is just one big tantrum contained in some dirty clothes. All of this means that I sit down at the computer late at night and just … can’t … make … anything come out. Can’t make the words do whatever they are supposed to do. I wrote a book review which was the title, author, and the statement “Finn liked it.” I wish I thought that would pass muster, but it won’t.

Here’s hoping I can impose a deadline on myself, and whip up something frothy and fun to read in the next few days. I have a list of all kinds of stuff that I am excited to share. Really!

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