I was on a roll there for a bit, writing daily, painful as it was, but at least after 5 hours or so — I felt good. I felt proud of myself. Sure, I didn’t accomplish many pages. I delete a lot, rewriting as I write, which from what I’ve read in the How To Write books, is not recommended. I can’t help it anymore than I can help from eating jelly beans and drinking coffee to keep going.
Then this weekend. My baby girl’s seventh birthday, her dad coming home for the big occasion and SUN. We had sunlight and warmish air– all on the same few days. There went my writing, followed by the obligatory guilt that creates nothing but, uh, bad feelings of worthlessness.
Worthlessness defined: “I feel fat. Do I look okay? Is my makeup too heavy? Do you think I need a facelift? Some Botox? Do I need injections around my eyes? No, don’t take a picture of me — I look terrible!” I didn’t realize how horrible I sounded until my 9-year-old son looked in the car mirror and mimicked me: “I look Ugly! I need more makeup!” Yeah, then I felt guiltier. I am no example for my kids, especially for my daughters. I preach self-worth, self-respect, and instead show them how to flog oneself in public, but never at an artistic level — I am no Marina Abramovic.
Then again, as much as I admire Abramovic’s gutsy form of art — that is her art, not mine. Mine is still finding its way, and if there are any naked bodies, whips, chains or blood involved then it’s about the life of an essential character within an entertaining (hopefully) plot.
I cure my feelings of lack and worthlessness by writing. When I write, I am shaping and understanding my life’s purpose. When I write, I redefine the experience that I’ve too often called a distraction or worse. So what do I do about those distractions so that I can write more? Accept them.
My life’s distractions are my life. They are my children, my husband (a rare thing when he is home, cherish it), my pets, the messes, the laundry (clothing of sweet spirits), cooking (feeding of beautiful souls). Why would I ever want to eliminate my distractions when they are what feed my writing, my own hopes, my own soul’s desires? Instead of seeking a way around the distractions or “wishing” there were no distractions, I have to accept that my job as a writer is important as all of my obligations. I have to make the time to write — it is my job — in spite of the noise and chaos otherwise known as life. If I feel guilt? I’ll give that guilt to the main character — let her figure it out.