Notes on the Writing Life

You may have always dreamed of becoming a writer, and perhaps you pictured yourself in a little writing cabin in Maine with a fireplace, tea, and a cat snuggled beside you. The snow falls outside and you can hear it it’s that peaceful. It sounds like the distant jingling of a million sleigh bells. And in this vision, you’re cozy and warm and completely inspired. Someone delivers dinner. Perhaps you’ll eat and return to your book after you dine. You have hours of quiet ahead of you.

In reality, you are not in Maine. But there is snow, only it’s the kind of snow where your minivan is trapped in ice in your driveway and it’s a snow day.

You are not in a quiet cabin.

You are in your ordinary, loud life where a child has just cut her big toe, laundry timers ding, and a baked potato explodes in your oven. You eat two cupcakes because it’s a snow day and the children made cupcakes. Then you clean the kitchen because the children really didn’t know how to make cupcakes by themselves and you find batter and sprinkles everywhere. Every few minutes, someone needs you to fix something or answer some question like, “How do I knit the top of my hat?” and you have to research for a minute. Students email in a parallel universe where you are also a university instructor and have lessons to prepare.

But you’re mostly a writer, and you write in between every little other thing that’s happening.

The Italian Mama calls to ask how in the world you’re supposed to motivate yourself to write when so many other things are on your mind today. You decide to reward yourself with chocolate for each writing goal accomplished.

Maybe you’ll drive to the store to get chocolate but you remember the ice.

But you’re writing. Look, you’re writing!

As you return to your document, your youngest daughter approaches and cries with such love and urgency, “Mom! Mom! How is the book writing going today?” She plops down, ready for a long, intimate mother-daughter moment.

So you turn away to talk to her all about this book you’re writing / not writing.


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