On Writing

The Struggle to Write


It’s late. I’m tired. My throat hurts and I can feel my breath through my ears. You know when that happens…how that feels. I’ve been caught by that sinus cold that seems to nabbing everyone. BAH. I can’t let it stop me…alas, it is slowing me down.

So I’ll get right to it.

Since I changed my schedule – the first week of February – I have spent only one entire day dedicated to writing.

Deep breath.

Today’s truth is this:

I’m struggling with balance. I’m struggling with wanting to help and support others in an equally pleasing way that enables me to help and support myself.

Since I was a child, I’ve been told that I ‘care too much’ and I ‘have too big a heart’. I never saw these as negative attributes. Never felt them to be a ‘wrong’ way of being. In fact, my natural instinct when I heard these words thrown at me (or worse, said in a condescendingly gentle way) was to REPEL. How can caring and loving occur as ‘too much’ ever?

It’s not a fault. It’s a gift. I felt that then. I feel this now.

I spend hours reading other’s writing. Mentoring. Teaching. Supporting literary events. Updating my blog. Reading writing blogs. I devote a large portion of my time dedicated to caring for and loving the art and craft of the written word.

What I’m struggling with is extending this care and love to my own art and craft of writing. I’m about a day and a half away from finishing the YA novel I was so happily writing in November for NaNoWriMo. I want so badly to enter into Miss Snark’s First Victim contest and start living the dream of finding an agent…but I have to have my novel FINISHED. No ifs, ands or buts. Why can’t I give myself this day?

My writing days are Mondays and Thursdays. I mean, these are days that I’ve clearly changed my life for so I can fill them with writing. And I’ve barely done that. Now, that’s not to say that I haven’t written. I have. Loads. In the early mornings. Late into the night. Before and after work. In class. In salon. I’m writing all over the place but it never feels…smooth. It’s a staccato (spelling?!) process that I am desperately trying to pull into something SMOOTH.

Maybe it’s just not possible now. ?

This Thursday upcoming is currently OPEN AND FREE. I have not scheduled anything. I will not mentor. I will not teach. I will not blog.

I will write. I will sit at my desk and attempt to finish my novel. Well, the first draft. I have to.

Why can’t I feel as exulted when I write all over the place like I feel when I write in one place, hour after hour? Why do I feel the need to measure and rate how and when I write? Can’t it just all ‘count’ as writing? Pat myself on the back and click my heels at the joy of writing whenever it happens?

I don’t know. I’m hard on myself. Maybe too hard. Couple this with my absolute love of writing and supporting other writers in my life…supporting local literary events…writing for magazines and blogs…You can see how ‘balance’ is but a word in my world…not a way of being.

I do care. I do love. Both in a huge way. I wish I could stop ordering myself to fit it all in.

Because the truth is: I do fit it all in. I fit in what I fit in. Right?

This Thursday, I will write.

I will not clean my disasterously messy office. I will not do dishes or fold laundry. I will make a peppermint tea, clear a space on my desk for my keyboard and my notes, and I WILL WRITE. I will write until I have to stop to get the kids from school. I will give myself the gift of smooth writing. I will do it with care and love like I strive to do with the rest of my writing life.

I will toss struggle in a bag and pick it up later. Or never.


One thought on “The Struggle to Write

  1. Quite right, Vanessa. Having a big heart is not a fault, and it’s more than a gift – it’s a miracle. It causes babies and books and brilliant ideas to be born. It awakens our sleeping minds to possibilities undreamed. It’s healing, hopeful and hilarious. Given a choice between the self-controlled, prim and proper types who dole out their affections through an eye-dropper, or the Vanessas of the world who rush to love head first and arms wide, give me a Vanessa every time. Without them, how dark this world; how colourless this life.


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