This week, I return to my day job after a summer-long hiatus. I don’t like change, so even a slight shake-up of routine sent me straight to my journal the other day.
As I scribbled down all my anxieties, I realized that the entry I wrote was all too similar to the one I wrote in May – when my day job ended and my summer promised two kids at home – all day – and absolutely no routine. The list from May to August differed in a few details, but the big question remained the same: When will I find time to write?
One thing’s for sure, I’m a consistent worrier.
It’s the endless plight of any writer with a day job or a mother writer with kids. What I’ve found though – in looking back on the last few months – is that as much as I worry about not having time to write, I still end up with a stack of essays and stories in the end. Too bad those essays or stories have little to do with the “big one.” I’ve tucked my novel draft and notes under my arm and carried them from room to room with me all summer. They even traveled with me on vacations. But, I’ve pushed through only a few more pages of that draft.
Still, I’ve been writing, even when time was tight. And, that’s better than not writing at all.
In considering my slow-moving novel, I thought of Jan O’Hara’s recent post on Writer Unboxed where she mentioned wise words from Donald Maass, heard at the RWA Nationals:
If possible, resist the push to rapid production. A good story well told means an audience willing to wait. Reward their loyalty with quality.
Maass’s words do little to ease my worries that I will oversleep tomorrow and show up late (or worse – unshowered) for first day back at work. But, his advice reminds me that writing is simply moving forward — inch by inch, page by page.
Looking back from May to August, I see small steps in progress and moments of synchronicity, when little burning bushes signaled that I can be (and am) a writer. In spite of tight schedules, posts were written, stories were submitted, and connections with other writers were made.
I can view my day job as a burden that takes me away from writing (though that paycheck and health insurance lightens the load). Or, I can see it as an opportunity: new routines force me to schedule more succinct writing times.
I did it once; I can do it again.
What inspiration have you found in looking back on your writing?